If you want to have better sales conversations, you’ll need the help of marketing. You need marketing analytics to understand the desire, emotion, and accumulated knowledge that your buyers are providing you. You’ll need to map their “digital fingerprints” to gain a full picture of their Content Consumption Story.
The Content Consumption Story is a roadmap of the digital fingerprints that your buyer has left on all your digital insights.
It helps empirically to prove lead influence by acting like a tracking device. It sheds light into what insights your buyer has touched. Blogs, emails, calls, basically anything that’s synced with your customer relationship management tool and marketing automation system.
If you want to learn more about enhancing account-based using digital insights, sign up for the Modern Sales Series here.
So, without further delay, here’s how to improve your sales conversations with marketing analytics.
Step 1: Choose a customer to analyze
I recommend that you select one customer success story. Don’t boil the ocean. Work with the sales team to identify a customer who presented multiple challenges, perhaps did some stopping and starting in his or her process, but also is reflective of a typical deal.
Chop out the anomalies of “blue birds” who swooped into the CRM and closed within ten days. They just won’t provide you an accurate picture of your typical buyer. In preparation for your customer analysis, you’ll need the following:
- Marketing Automation history
- CRM history
- The sales professional(s) who worked the account to help fill in any missing context
Using a spreadsheet, plot your Buyer’s Journey across rows, and below in the next row, fill in the details of your typical sales process across the spreadsheet.
I recommend that the Buyer’s Journey and Sales Process be in rows 1 and 2 so your sales professionals get a clear understanding of the chronological timeline you’re trying to capture.
Begin plotting sales interactions first.
Nothing is too small: voicemails, phone calls, emails. Highlight the dates of these interactions. Plot these interactions from first touchpoint all the way until a won customer – so include Discovery calls, Demos, Proposals and so on.
Next, plot the consumed insights and dates over the same timeline. Note the assets by type, dates between assets consumed, dates between assets consumed in proximity to a sales interaction. You should be left with a road map of everything that sales and marketing did to influence this won customer.
Step 2: Isolate a single observation
Hopefully, there is a nugget of gold to extract. This could be the proximity of content consumption 24 hours before or after a major sales interaction. Perhaps this buyer consumed a variety of asset types, but the Headline and Topic of these insights were basically the same. You now have a template to scale this process.
Step 3: Scale by mapping larger pools of clients
Now that you have the template for implementing this analysis, you’ll want to map all your top customers. Depending on volume, you may start with recent transactions. However you choose to dissect this information, you need a sample size that is large enough to give you the comfort that the results will represent your entire client base.
Step 4: Regression analysis to isolate trends
Now the fun begins. You will begin plotting client after client, giving you further knowledge about how your buyer is conducting his or her due diligence.
As you begin analyzing the entire buyer story, also segment consumption patterns into the three Buyer’s Journey stages: Why, How, Who.
You’ll want to understand what’s happening (in great detail) when a buyer is first discovering his or her problem (Why), then patterns that are helping him or her move toward How and so on.
Here are examples of trends you’ll want to discover:
How many insights, on average, is a buyer consuming? Is that similar for all Buyer Personas? Or size of customer?
Within a buyer’s total consumption, how much (as a percentage or number of assets) is consumed before the first sales interaction? Can you make a case for CEB’s statistic that 57 percent of the buying journey is happening without sales?
What is the percentage of consumption a buyer does when interacting in later stages with your sales executives? During the How and Who stages, how much are digital insights still influencing a buyer?
At the asset type level, are specific asset types dramatically outperforming others to create new leads? Are sales executives nurturing their accounts?
Are specific asset types being consumed in high value during a specific Buyer’s Journey stage that you didn’t anticipate?
You can slice and dice this data all day long. Remember, your main goal is to understand:
- Volumes needed for future production.
- Velocity needed to get assets into the market quicker.
- Probability that an asset will convert.
Each of these three main metrics will be the focal point of your incremental improvements.
Step 5: Arm your sales team with this information to improve sales conversations
Imagine the power this information has in your sales team’s hands. Your professionals know what insights should best be shared, to which buyers and at what stages of that Buyer’s Journey. They’ll be able to better qualify a buyer if that buyer is not consuming insights that meet the average consumption patterns of previous buyers.
This Content Consumption minimum has been highly valuable for our sales team. If a buyer is not actively engaged in our insights, a red flag goes up and we ask ourselves “How interested is this buyer in our solution?” This saves countless hours to ensure our sales team isn’t spinning its wheels.
Step 6: Create a prescriptive process to making incremental improvements
Here are examples of ways you can think about making incremental improvements. Remember, don’t just snap your fingers and decide on smallish ways to improve. These improvements, done month over month, have to align to achieving the goals set out for meeting sales quotas.
- Volume: What can we do next month to double our blog Volume?
- Can we shift resources to improve volumes on high performing assets? Will an outsourced contractor accelerate things?
- To double blog output, can we ask the Insights Committee member to tell two blog stories (rather than one this month)?
Velocity: What can we do next month to shorten our production time on webinars by 33 percent?
- Might it work to ask our panelist if we can just be the moderator, and he or she the Subject Matter Expert?
- Is there room to use email content from our best-performing webinar for our upcoming webinar promo too?
Probability: What can we do to convert 50 percent more leads next month, without dramatically changing our production volume, as the team is over-committed on a few projects?
- Last time, the webinar drove 500 registrants, and 20 new leads come from it. Based on this, will ABC Company be willing to send two webinar panelists?
- How do we get sales team sharing the “XYZ infographic” heavily? That infographic created 10 leads just from our corporate account; we should get 50 new leads from our 100 sales professionals.
Your team is experimenting, but experimenting with more and more information to become more scientific. It doesn’t take long for your marketing efforts to become predictable. Any time you can make your marketing efforts predictable, you can then scale. Work that predictable scale with your sales team to plot a course for meeting and exceeding their sales quota.
Want to learn more about how you can transform your company into a modern sales machine? Check out Jamie Shanks, Jen Sieger, Gabe Larsen and more at Modern Sales Series here.