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by Evan Duffy
The buyer’s journey is changing. Sales and Marketing used to be able to control their brand’s messaging and value proposition through the limited number of mass communication channels (such as network TV, commercial radio, newspapers, and even email, website, and banner advertising into the mid-2000s). Social media and other forms of user-generated content, though, have revolutionized how buyers research, evaluate, and select business partners. In fact, Sirius Decisions says that as much as 70% of the buyer’s journey now happens before he or she ever connects with a sales person.
The “good old days” of brand protection may be over, but let’s look on the bright side. This gives demand generation marketers like me a bigger challenge to tackle every day: outbound sales and marketing. And that’s something to get pretty excited about.
If you already have an outbound sales team, you have to appreciate the unique skill set they bring to your demand gen table. Cold calling is difficult, and building your list of target accounts takes time. As marketers, it’s our job to equip our outbound teams with the right messaging and tools to help them build lists and connect with prospects faster and more efficiently than ever before.
Here are 3 tips for supporting your outbound sales team:
- Create a messaging playbook. Your value proposition has to be clear and tailored to your target audience right from the start; otherwise your sales team can’t be effective and realize their full potential. Think about who your prospect is from all angles (job title and functional area, company size, industry, and region), and develop targeted messaging for each unique segment. As your business evolves, always revisit your playbook and give it a facelift when needed!
- Invest in prospecting tools. There are lots of great tools available to help your outbound team find the right prospects faster. For example, we use BuiltWith to study market share analysis and improve sales intelligence. We also use Marketo and InsideView to identify companies and contacts that have visited our website without making an inbound call or filling out a contact form.
- Solicit feedback, and keep your content fresh. Marketing is really only as effective as the feedback we get from sales. Communication is key, and you should constantly ask for feedback on your sales enablement materials and tools. Don’t wait for the sales reps to come to you. Create feedback surveys, hold a monthly open door feedback session, or just swing by their desks every now and then! Then, refine your playbook, create new offers, and refresh older ones.
And that's it... for now! If you want to take a deeper dive into outbound sales support (or, really, any other demand gen topics!), send me an email or Tweet at me any time. Your comments and questions will help me develop future topics, and of course I'll talk demand gen all day, any day!