‘Our messages aren’t engaging customer early enough.’ ‘Our message response rates are too low.’ These are the types of concerns sales professionals often voice about ineffective sales messaging today — messaging that doesn’t resonate with prospects on their complex and information-overloaded buyer journey.
B2B buyers today do their own research, access multiple pieces of information and report little satisfaction with supplier’s information channels. For sales leaders — who rank new customer acquisition as a top challenge — more disciplined sales prospecting is a top priority. Improved prospecting also trickles down into the other key priorities of improving both the quality and volume of leads.
At the Gartner Sales & Marketing Conference 2018 in Las Vegas, NV, Carlos Guerrero, Senior Director, Advisory, Gartner, explained that to engage reluctant prospects today, sales leaders must enable their teams to craft engaging messages that will cut through the noise. These outbound communications include messages disseminated via phone, email and social media to help sellers uncover and qualify new opportunities for the sales force.
The early stage prospecting strategy that many organizations use is flawed
Information drives high-value deals
Information that helps buyers advance through the buying journey is three times more likely to increase the likelihood of a high-value, low-regret deal. The right information at the right time across the buying process plays an important role in sales effectiveness.
“Helping customer make progress through the buying journey is not only good for the customer; it’s good for sales in that it increase the chances that buyers will purchase a bigger in scope, higher-value deal,” says Guerrero.
Typically, sales organizations deploy prospecting messages in terms of early, middle and late stages of the buying process — and prospecting efforts are tightly focused on the early stages. “The early-stage prospecting strategy that many organizations use is flawed,” says Guerrero. “This is because they fail to acknowledge how buyers buy today.”
First, early stage messages do not include relevant, helpful information for a majority of the buying jobs that buyers must complete in order to advance through the purchase process. While, the message won’t resolve the job for buyer, it provides the insight that the seller understands and can help the buyer move forward. Second, the information provided fails to support the buying job that the buyer is facing at the time.
Jobs-based prospecting message approach
To ensure messages are effective, sales teams should map each message back to the respective tasks associated with each job. When done correctly, effective messages will provide customers with information to complete each of the seven buying jobs.
For example, a jobs-based approach to messages would include particular text intended to aid customers with ‘problem identification’ by quantifying the costs of inaction. The message can also confirm the buyer’s independent learning.
“While it’s important to lead messaging efforts with the target job in mind,” says Guerrero. “Don’t neglect the fundamentals of good prospecting messages.”
Prospecting message are most effective when they:
- Lead with a question
- Provide credible evidence
- Provide measured business objectives
- Quickly get to the point
- Suggest next steps.