I’ve been letting the chatter around SiriusDecisions’ updated buyer’s journey findings die down a bit before adding my two cents. It has been a month since the “groundbreaking” news that B2B buyers interact with sales reps during every phase of the buyer’s journey. Yes, that even includes the initial 67 percent digital portion.
SiriusDecisions was right to make this a big deal.
From the moment they released the “67 percent of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally” statistic, it has been used as a wedge between marketing and sales. The organization attempted to bust the myths around that finding in the past with little success. A 2013 blog stated, “The 67 percent statistic in no way says that no one talks to a salesperson before getting halfway through the buying cycle, but this is how some have interpreted it. Just because buyers spend time online doesn’t mean sales is not involved at all stages of the buyer’s journey, including the early and late stages.” The clarification didn’t matter; the damage was done.
In much of my experience, that old statistic is a primary reason for marketing and sales misalignment. Marketing uses it to justify why sales need not be involved in deciding what content is created, when it is served up or even at what point in the engagement is the lead passed to sales. For sales managers and their sales teams, the stat is used as an excuse not to cold call, be diligent in connecting or document a sales engagement process.
Few listened well then, will they listen better now?
The B2B marketing and sales ecosystem needed to hear this message loud and clear. Companies have gotten off track in creating and delivering a satisfying B2B buying experience. We can blame the misinterpreted statistic, a reliance on technology, trendy marketing and sales concepts, longer sales cycles or even the ever-present friction between marketing and sales. I think we’ve just been sloppy.
Whether we agree or disagree with the updated research, SiriusDecisions has done the B2B industry a favor by shouting their new findings so loudly. The update gives B2B marketing and sales leadership a legitimate reason to step back and assess what their lead-to-revenue process looks like from the buyer’s perspective, as well as internal stakeholders.
Behold, the opportunity.
I encourage B2B leaders to take advantage of this opportunity to fix what’s broken. Be diligent in your assessment and involve all the revenue influencers in your company. Go inch-by-inch through the process asking the following questions:
- Does our lead-to-revenue process align with our buyer’s journey?
- Do we have the content and sales enablement assets that will impact the decision to purchase?
- Have we defined and do we offer specific actions that can be taken by the buyer as part of the process?
- Have we assigned clear roles and responsibilities to ensure marketing and sales accountability?
- Have we documented and shared our lead engagement process – who, what, when – with all revenue influencers?
- Do our marketing and sales technologies work together to support our process and improve efficiency?
- Do we have tracking and reporting that ensures we are delivering on the expectations of individuals interested in doing business with our company?
Now’s the time to diagnose and repair your lead-to-revenue process to enable your marketing and sales teams to meet the needs of your buyers and accelerate revenue. Don’t let this opportunity slip away.