Seismic is out in Scottsdale, Arizona for Forrester’s Sales Enablement Forum, and while it may be raining it definitely beats the cold in New England!
Day one has been chock full of exciting sessions and panels, many great conversations at the Seismic booth, and quality networking opportunities with some of the industry’s best and brightest. One session I particularly enjoyed was called Crossing the Conversion Gap with Tim Riesterer from Corporate Visions.
Tim’s presentation was especially entertaining because instead of using your typical PowerPoint presentation, he had flip charts illustrating his points explicitly. But aside from that, Tim discussed the enormous gap that inhibits sales reps from converting leads to customers: quality, need-based content.
When leads come through your funnel, it’s likely because they have found your content useful and are interested in learning more. The problem here is that sales reps are much too focused on closing rather than facilitating a consultative conversation with prospects, and as a result end up jumping right to “solution content.” Solutions content is the end-of-the-road collateral, the evaluative, feature-heavy content that is of no use to prospects who are still evaluating their own needs and pain points.
Riesterer blames this on the infamous statistic that is constantly floating around the sales enablement world:
“Today’s buyers are anywhere from 2/3 to 90% of the way through their journey before any contact with a sales rep.”
We’ve all heard it, and look at this as a way to prove that the buyer is in the driver’s seat and sales should be ready to jump right in to vendor evaluation. But now take this stat into consideration:
An average of 5.4 decision makers are now part of the purchase process.
So, if your buyer is 90% done with the purchase process by the time a sales rep is involved, that means that there are still 4.4 decision makers reps have to convince, on top of the 10% from the first one. This takes a variety of messaging and role-specific content that can help buyers understand their own needs and pains, and how your product or service will help each of them in their everyday lives.
Yet reps still jump right to solution content, and leads are still not converting.
Riesterer suggests bridging this conversion gap with need-based content. This includes anything that illustrates a need that specific buyer personas didn’t even know they had, or had trouble quantifying, or haven’t yet prioritized. Ways to do this include:
- Amplifying the undervalued and under-prioritized needs by sharing industry trends and predictions about their specific pain points
- Identifying unmet needs (those process-based problems that organizations work around and don’t even acknowledge as existent)
- Uncovering unknown needs: exposing leads to what isn’t on their radar so they can get ahead of the curve
This is a great example of how companies can bridge the gap between their sales and marketing teams even further, while also bridging the gap between early- and late-stage sales content.
We will keep you posted on all of the other goings-on of Forrester’s two-day sales enablement forum!