I am not really a numbers guy. For a minute, I am going to pretend as if I am.
Here are a few numbers you need to care about: 5.4, 37 percent, and 57 percent.
5.4: That is the average number of people in B2B buying groups today, according to CEB.
Thirty-seven percent: That is how far through the average purchase decision conflict goes amongst individuals in the buying group, again from CEB research.
Fifty-seven percent: According to CEB, That is how far the typical buying group is through its purchase decision before it ever talks to a supplier.
Are you seeing the problem yet?
Purchasers at companies are no longer single buyers. They are entire groups of people, all with different perspectives, job titles, and experiences.
Thanks to these many different perspectives, there is conflict through almost every purchase decision. Your salespeople are not talking to this potential customer until 57 percent of the way through the purchase decision—long after conflict peaks.
No wonder sales teams today have difficulty closing. A 2014 Salesforce study found that an average of 13 percent of B2B leads convert to opportunities, and that only six percent of opportunities convert to deals. The odds are stacked against them before a prospect ever picks up the phone.
In the past, sales and marketing often operated as two completely separate entities. They could get away with it, because consultative, solution-based sales were the norm When the salesperson was walking a prospect through the sales cycle from beginning to end, there was no need to prime the pump.
Today, things are different. Marketing is much more important.
High-quality content is the beginning of today’s sale. Getting your name out there and enabling prospects to find you on their own is essential. You need to reach prospects before they get 57 percent of the way through their purchase decision. Actually, you need to reach prospects before they get 37 percent of the way through their purchase decision! If you can reach them with content that speaks to them before conflict peaks, you are better equipping prospects to advocate for your solution.
How do you help customers? What are your business benefits? How do you benefit individuals at companies that use your solution? Remember that you are working with people. Why are you better than all the other solutions out there? What is your true value proposition?
When sales and marketing work together to create valuable content and truly understand the buying group, the entire process becomes easier. It is easier for prospects to advocate on your behalf—and it is easier for salespeople to close, because prospects are that much more informed about and invested in using your solution.
I may not be a numbers guy, but 5.4, 37 percent, and 57 percent are three numbers I think about a lot. Moreover, when you are figuring out how your sales and marketing teams can work together, they are three numbers you should be thinking about a lot, too.