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Digital Sales Activity: finding buyers too late in their journey

Submitted by on Monday, 11 October 2010

Digital sales approaches are faulty: they
* drip content with no clear understanding what the best content or interval should be,
* follow digital footprints with no clear understanding of exactly who is on line, what weight they have on the Buying Decision Team, or at what point they are in the buying decision process,
* do content marketing with no clear idea of  if/when/how the Buying Decision Team has developed their full range of buying criteria.

Currently digital activities work from a single assumption: that the right content data – offered or received –  at the right time will give the seller the ability to close a sale.

There are many problems with this assumption.

  1. buyers don’t know, until almost the end of the buying decision journey, the full set of criteria they need to meet in order to get the buy-in to make a purchase, and therefore don’t know the content they need;
  2. using a sales model, we cannot know ‘who’ on the Buying Decision Team needs to get ‘what’ data. We therefore can’t know if the right people are getting the right messages – and certainly don’t know if the ‘right’ person is sharing it with others;
  3. using a sales model, we don’t know what buyers are doing with our data. Really. They might give it to their own internal group and add it to their capability – and never need to buy from us.

The truth is, we don’t know. By using ‘content’ as the major assumption to focus our efforts (both sending, collecting, or following) we are missing the real buying decision journey.

BUYING HAPPENS PRIOR TO SOLUTION DATA

Until or unless you decide to lose weight, information about the gym won’t mean anything. Ditto about moving: info about a great real estate agent or house or neighborhood is useless if you and your spouse can’t decide on the right neighborhood. Did you buy your music set up by looking at products first, or by deciding you wanted to upgrade your system and getting permission from your kids to make a change and then getting their buy-in and criteria?

Sales has always assumed content is king and a good salesperson could recognize a need and place a solution. How’s that working for you? How different from the accepted 7% close ratio are you? In my mind, that makes the sales model a spectacularly ineffective model for helping buying decisions get made.

I’d like to shift the starting point to early in the buying decision journey. Without the human side being managed, the new digital activity will do little more than find those people who were going to buy anyway.

There is a way to enter earlier, and  use the digital capability. To understand the whole journey, take a look at my latest book: Dirty Little Secrets.

PURCHASES ONLY HAPPEN IF THERE IS BUY-IN

Until or unless there is appropriate buy-in to make a change, nothing will be purchased regardless of how imperative the need. It’s just not worth it to have a systems melt down.

To get buy-in requires a criteria alignment, a knowledge of how systems go through change, and a change management activity that enables all who will touch the solution to get on board with in-put and buy-in. None of this is part of the current sales model, nor is it part of any of the digital sales activities available now except for Kadient (I’m developing Buying Facilitation™ modules for Kadient).

So long as the digital world is focused on placing content, and following buyers as they peruse a site (collecting data that is specious at best), buyers will not be aided in the way they need to be – and we will continue to not meet our quotas as 50% of us are finding now.

Read my post from Friday, October 8th, as a companion to this post.

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Find out more about Buying Facilitation™ digital selling.

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