Last week, Market-Partners Inc. was a Gold Sponsor at Seismic’s Shift ‘22 Sales Enablement Conference. It was a pleasure to meet so many friends, both new and old, at the Marriott Marquis down in sunny San Diego. We appreciate the great conversations we had with everyone at the booth, our happy hours, the Executive Summit, and The Blueprint for Success. We would also like to give a special thank you to the Seismic Team, who spent countless hours making this event possible. We are already looking forward to Shift ‘23.
For Seismic users who were unable to attend the conference, we would like to share with you a quick summary of our sessions, their key insights, and some actionable takeaways. We hope you can join us all next year.
“One of the major themes of Shift was the idea of transformative enablement. But what this emphasizes for me is the urgent need for change. While far from easy, change is not optional in today’s buyer-centric world – and it hasn’t been optional for a long time. We must enable our front-line sales and marketing teams to meaningfully engage in, and stay engaged in, our customers’ end-to-end buying journeys. We must enable them to deliver valuable insight and relevance each step of the way.”
– Martyn Lewis, Market-Partners Inc. CEO & Founder
The Blueprint for Success
The Blueprint for Success provides a checklist to help organizations fully leverage the transformative power of the Seismic Enablement Cloud. This approach is about more than gaining certain efficiencies; it transforms customer engagement to meet today’s buyers where they actually are. As such, the blueprint covers the entire journey from vision through implementation, adoption, and actualizing the desired business results. The secret lies in managing the right people, processes, and technology, which Martyn broke down into an ultra-effective three stage approach.
1. Scope. In our 25 years of experience, proper implementation of any new technology or process must start with the “why” and bringing in the voice of the customer.Understanding how an organization aims to influence the buying journey should not only inform the vision for success, but lay the foundation for enablement design: prioritizing, staging, and creating a ramp plan for the implementation.At the end of this first stage, it is imperative to align stakeholders to the key motivations and the envisioned results. This will dramatically reduce the inherent friction that comes with change down the road.
2. Setup. The next stage begins with coordinating the organization’s market messaging to how its buyers buy. Each selling and marketing activity must be aimed at influencing a specific step of the buying journey. To deploy a strategy like the one described, businesses need to focus on sales and marketing enablement and change management. Only after this point can teams begin to implement the desired technology or process. Like Scope, this stage should also end with stakeholder alignment to ensure success going forward.
3. Adoption. When implementing the process or technology, teams should consider the classic adoption curve. Early adopters in particular should be used for a small-scale initial rollout. This rollout should not be labeled a “pilot,” as that indicates the change could be tentative. From the early adopters’ experiences, organizations can bring together lessons, benchmark success metrics, and prepare for the full rollout with launch readiness. Once the full rollout has begun, organizations should then continue to support and optimize the technology or process for their own market.
To ensure the session was actionable for enablement teams, we created a blueprint reference guide for attendees to use in their own organization. You can download the quick reference guide and use it digitally or print your own using the link here.
Reconnecting Sellers to Buyers
It is a widely accepted fact that sellers are becoming increasingly disconnected from buyers. Not only do buyers not reach out to sellers until they are 50% or farther through their buying journey, but sellers are involved in less than 10% of a buyer’s buying activities. There are four main reasons this gap is growing: buyers have more access to information, there is no longer a single decision maker, resources are fully deployed, and there is no shortage of good offerings to pursue.
The amount of activity that the average buyer has to put into buying has also dramatically increased. They must gain alignment across their organization and consider the myriad of details surrounding the adoption of the new offering. This requires working across teams to not only resolve these potential problems, but also to convince others that the necessary changes are worthwhile and more important than other priorities and alternatives (including doing nothing). Yet despite the critical nature of these activities, our research continuously illustrates that salespeople leave their “champions” to undertake them alone.
However, from this gap emerges an opportunity to reconnect our sellers to buyers through transforming how we sell and market. We must switch from simply selling the offering to supporting and navigating the buyer through all the stages and activities of their buying journey. To achieve this powerful new way of engaging with customers, we recommend the four-pronged approach outlined below.
1. Decode the Market’s Buying Journey. Like everything Outside-In™, we must begin with a deep understanding of how our customers buy and why they don’t.
2. Develop the Market Engagement Strategy. Once the buying journey has been mapped, selling organizations can create the Market Engagement Strategy. This covers how we will engage in, stay relevant throughout, overcome friction during, and add value to our customer’s buying journey.
3. Enable and Support Sales to Deploy the Strategy. Next, organizations should turn the Market Engagement Strategy into action items for positively influencing the buying journey at each step. This means planning out how sales and marketing teams will tailor content and messaging to the specific time, role, motivation, and concern.
4. Measure Manage and Optimize. As sellers manage their buyers through each stage of their buying journey, organizations must track their prospects, measure selling effectiveness, and further optimize the strategy.
When laid out side by side, you may notice that there is an overlap between the Blueprint for Success and Reconnecting Sellers to Buyers. That is because woven into both strategies are two key features: a more effective way to sell and market based on how your customers buy and the necessary change management to succeed with the new approach.
We know that not everyone was able to make it to the Shift ‘22 Executive Summit or the 2022 SAMA Global Summit, which is why we are offering a free follow up workshop November 10 at 10:00 AM PST. Register today.