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Hey, Sales & Marketing. . .You’re not Meeting Prospects’ #1 and #2 Needs!

What do your buyers value most during the pre-purchase phase for their IT products or solutions? Spending quality time with your sales reps? Doing a feature by feature comparison versus your competitors?  Hardly.  The top 2 most valued activities by buyers are:

  1. Interacting with your company’s technical teams. (e.g., CTO, presales engineers)
  2. Consumption of vendor content à Financial justification/ROI is #1 here

Sure, buyers put “interacting with sales reps” as next in line; and reps are the ones that will be the key facilitators and match-makers to make these activities happen as part of customer enablement.  But what’s most surprising, are the results that just came out of IDC’s 2012 Sales Investment and Productivity Benchmarks study. (click here for full study for Sales Advisory clients) We asked many of the largest BtoB vendors in the world how long it takes for their sales rep to find different types of information within their organization in response to buyers’ needs.  Can you guess which two types of information took the longest to find to meet buyers’ needs? (refer to Figure below)

  1. 45% of companies indicated that it takes their sales reps 1 to 5 days or longer to find ROI-related sales assets from across their organization.
  2. 39% of companies indicated that it takes their sales reps 1 to 5 days to find the best fit presales person for their prospects.

Yup, that’s right, as technology sales organizations, we’re having the greatest difficulty fulfilling the top two most valued activities in the buying process for our prospects. 

A couple of questions to consider as you look within your own organization to resolve these challenges:
  • Do you know what your buyers’ expectations are along the buying cycle, and how you are doing at meeting them? (e.g., Are you leveraging customer satisfaction insight as part of your account planning process?  Do you do a win-loss analysis? What does your own buyer experience research indicate?)
  • Are you providing your best clients and prospects with access to your technical teams when needed and justified? Is your ratio of presales engineers to sales reps high enough? (check out IDC sales staff allocation benchmarks)  Are your presales folks productive? (e.g., using teleconferencing to best leverage their time, connecting with sales reps through social media (Social Collaboration for Sales study for IDC clients)) 
  • Is your sales operations team collaborating with your marketing team as part of the content and marketing asset development life cycle to ensure that ROI-related assets are being developed to meet your buyers’ needs?. . . And how are you ensuring that your reps can get access to this intelligence ASAP when needed? (yes . . . . sales enablement)

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