Trust is the core driver of every sales process. Yet, how do buyers know who to trust with so much content out there? It’s a challenge that every salesperson and marketer faces in reaching modern buyers.
A decade ago, a salesperson could reach out to potential buyers and a few would express interest in learning about a solution. That initial meeting was the start of a process that exchanged knowledge and built trust. The best salespeople then persistently and relentlessly hustled to get meetings. Sales automation brought this “hustle” approach to a quick end, as every sales person could launch thousands of “did you get my email” emails at the click of a button, and buyers tuned out completely.
Now, we see that sales teams are beginning to #HoldTheHustle – to stop over-indexing on ‘hustle’ and ‘activities’ to the detriment of relationships and results. So, sales needs new tools to build trust and grow relationships with buyers.
Building trust in an environment of unlimited information means re-thinking the role of marketing. In the best organizations, marketing is no longer just a group that provides high-level “air cover” and “brand” content. It is a function providing deep, meaningful, and perspective-challenging content that can be used by sales teams as they guide buyers’ journeys.
In this post, we identify lessons learned from an immersive buyer study and thereby how marketing and sales can craft a new alliance to ensure their mutual success.
Lessons from buyers
To understand how marketing and sales can evolve to best engage the modern buyer, we at Nudge.ai undertook a deep, interview-based study of executives and how they buy. The #HowIBuy buyer psychology series looked across industry and role to find behavioural patterns of how buyers actually buy. The insights are very instructive and here are some highlights:
Don’t overdo solution-oriented content
As John Kennedy, VP of Engineering at Amity, says: sometimes, when you have a pain point, you find yourself “looking for a rough shape of a problem rather than the particular solution”. Buyers will “zoom in then zoom out” as they begin to understand a problem and what the world offers to solve it. So, offer different types of content that engage with many perspectives and styles.
Make it easy to pull the thread
It should be easy to find your ‘next best assets’ and really activate your content. John Stetic, Chief Product Officer at Zinc, finds that the path to a changed perspective can be circuitous and somewhat random. As he finds articles that catch his eye (even articles on rockets and SpaceX) he will begin to “pull the thread” to learn more, eventually arriving at a new perspective of what is possible.
Ungate and help them buy
There is a major debate on content gating. Our experience says, rather than hold information and access back in an attempt to secure a meeting, the best marketers ungate content. This lets sales fully embrace the new reality of broad content experiences and focus their efforts on helping the buyer buy. As Troy Goode, CTO at Lanetix, says:
“I love it when a salesperson acts as a liaison between our company and internal experts within their business that can help us address our needs.”
Marketing and sales: A new alliance
The relationship between marketing and sales can become increasingly collaborative around the mutual challenge of helping buyers buy. Rather than treating content as a locked asset in order to force buyers to take a meeting, modern teams enable buyers to follow open content tracks in order to build trust. The present opportunity is not to see who can hustle more, but rather who can #HoldTheHustle and get better at sending and receiving signals of trust in an era of noise.