In late 2012, market research firm Forrester dropped a statistic on sales and marketing organizations that likely made them shudder with sudden pangs of helplessness and fear.
According to Forrester’s research, today’s buyers complete as much as 90 percent of their decision-making journey before they ever reach out (or respond) to vendors. They search Google, ask for referrals on social networks, read industry blogs, and digest reviews. And if your business is lucky enough to survive that rigorous filtering process, customer might respond to your outreach.
Yes, marketers can still play an influential role in awareness and guidance during that prolonged period of proactive customer research, and salespeople can still have a big impact on the final steps of a buyer’s journey. But for any of that to happen, both functions need to change the way they operate to become part of the conversation before their customers have already made up their minds.
So, how can you do that?
Content and social selling are two great tactics for engaging in two-way conversations with prospective customers earlier in the buying process. These strategies allow sales and marketing teams to monitor customer activity and interest leading up to a purchase decision, and quickly respond — via customers’ preferred communication channels — to questions or concerns with relevant, helpful information.