The buyers are taking over

There’s a lot of talk, or maybe it’s just the stuff I’m reading, that says it’s a buyer’s market; that buyers are in control; and that the role of the sales person is no longer tenable. Is that true? It would certainly be good to hear your views via a comment below.

Over here in marketing land, we have seen a shift to buyers being better informed and sceptical of hype. But that isn’t inconsistent with tough economic times and the need to spend frugally. And that certainly doesn’t undermine the need for canny salesmanship. I do think it’s true that technology has made information very accessible and the ease with which you can seek out the opinion of your peers a breeze. So buyers typically do more research online before they engage with sales and that gives us two challenges to address.

Online content needs to work harder

There really is very little point investing in an outbound direct marketing campaign to drive traffic to a landing page, only to lose visitor with trite arguments and overly complex navigation; or to work hard to build a following on Twitter and LinkedIn only to announce Edna’s brought doughnuts into the office. Online content should be aimed at providing a compelling and persuasive point of view that convinces prospects to take the next step as well as a winning experience that builds strong relationships and reinforces all the good reasons to remain a loyal customer. This is as much about engaging with the visitor on an emotional level as it is about providing the facts and figures that appeal to logic. A robust content and publishing strategy will make sure you hit all the right buttons.

Sales people need information too

And not some weighty tome to wade through, but succinct and easily accessible nuggets that get them up to speed swiftly. They need to be one step (or as many as they can manage) ahead of the customer, understanding the vertical context and the business drivers that are shaping decisions and how to map the solution sets to address these needs. They also need presentation materials to support their conversation with the customer, access to demonstration facilities and references to prove the success of this approach. Making sure your intranet has the right news feeds and is refreshingly easy to navigate, is integrated with and can push information to BlackBerry, Android and iphone apps is key. Oh and, a robust content and publishing strategy will make sure you hit all the right buttons.

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