How would your B2B sales change if you knew who would buy?

Ed Marsh | Jul 22, 2015

Under arrest for the future murder of Sarah Marks


Remember when Tom Cruise swept in to make preemptive arrests in Minority Report?  Like this scene where the "pre" perp is arrested before Sarah Marks' murder?

Sure it's a fanciful (and terrifying!) idea.  But results (Rand and DoJ/NIJ) show that well researched predictive policing is effective at preventing and reducing crime.  

Wayne Gretzky built his Hall of Fame career on precisely the same premise - skating to where the puck would be.

But with well entrenched B2B Sales and B2B Marketing silos in most companies, the very feasible opportunity to build the same sales approach is wasted.

Digital body language

"Watch their hips" is a common coaching tip in sports (no more trite metaphors after this...promise!)  It's simple, but it's important because head fakes, stutter steps and other moves work to confuse and mislead defenders.

But even average prospects are more crafty than the most talented athletes - they lurk in the internet shadows, maybe call or email, and then disappear.  Your sales reps don't have meetings with them routinely any more.  The traditional opportunities to understand their intent are now uncommon.

But in the internet shadows it's still relatively easy to "watch their hips" by observing digital body language.

What pages is someone reading on your website, for how long, in what order?  If they spend a long time exploring your premium offering, then quickly flash to the economy choice and request information on that, how will your sales rep position a conversation?  Recognizing that they really want the premium solution?

And if your primary persona is someone that holds a corporate role which can research but not purchase, whom must they convince to support their project?  And what will you learn when both finance and operations engage following your primary persona?

Building an asset

Over time and many interactions you'll accumulate data which you can mine for these powerful B2B sales insights.  Your revenue generation team should include a data analyst - one who carefully distinguishes between correlation and causation.  And your B2B sales reps (whether inside or field) must have investigatory instincts, applying the analyst's overlay on each prospect's & account's behaviors - or digital body language.

Done right the value is immense.  Of course you'll sell more and at a higher margin.  But there are other significant implications to your business that may not be part of a typical sales growth conversation.  These include:

  • more accurate forecasting
  • an incredibly powerful, replicable and manageable revenue growth process
  • a truly unique and immensely valuable body of data on buyers in your industry

As many boomer owned companies begin to prepare for ownership transitions over the next years, the impact of increased supply on enterprise valuations will require savvy CEOs to seek points of strategic differentiation.  And this data driven insight will potentially provide precisely that sort of differentiation.

Want to dig into the finance and enterprise valuation considerations of inbound marketing? Download our free eBook

The content marketing building blocks

Where does the valuable data come from?  You have to accumulate it of course, and to do so you have to create an infrastructure of content and technology - and you have to build a team with savvy, experience, curiosity, creativity and barely contained impatience.

Even best in class technology to capture and help interpret digital body language will be of little value if you're missing accurate personas, a very sophisticated 3D buyers journey, and exceptionally insightful and well optimized content pieces mapped precisely against that journey.

In other words, this B2B sales 'breakthrough' requires experienced business savvy.  And while common wisdom today is that "tech savvy" digital natives in inbound marketing agencies are best positioned to deliver the components, they typically lack the industry, finance and operational lessons learned that infuse the process with authenticity and nuance.

The tools and techniques are enablers - experience on factory floors and in the corner office are the secret sauce.  With that insight and a structured digital marketing function, you too may be able to spot your own customer before they even buy.

Want to learn more about how inbound marketing can create value for your business beyond simply increased leads and sales?  Download our eBook "A Finance Exec's Guide to Content Marketing."


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