It can be one of the most frustrating situations for a sales rep: you’ve made contact with a prospect, they’ve taken an interest in your product, but they’re dragging their feet. How do you get things moving and drive home a need for your product? How do you create a ‘compelling event’?

There are many aspects of the sales cycle over which you have no control — issues of budget, hesitation from top-level executives, etc. But despite these delays, there are still ways to create a compelling event and encourage a prospect to act, and the simplest is this: personalization. Being able to anticipate your prospect’s specific needs and explain the personal impact that your product will have on their business can change the nature of your conversations.

Let’s take a look at a few ways that you can use the features of marketing automation to personalize the buyer’s journey and drive them to action.

Tailor conversations to specific needs.

‘Explain the personal impact that your product will have on their business’ — sounds simple enough, but how do you know what aspects of your product are of greatest interest to a prospect? And how do you keep these facts straight when dealing with multiple prospects every day? Prospect tracking compiles all of a prospect’s behavioral data in one place, and helps you draw conclusions about their interests and needs. For example:

  • If a prospect spends ten minutes on your pricing page, perhaps budget is a concern, and it may be time to have a conversation about value and potential ROI.

  • If a prospect spends more time on product X than product Y, it could be because they have a time-sensitive project that relates to that product, and that’s an area of particular interest.

  • If a prospect spends a lot of time reading up on a specific feature of your product, that may be an area that they’re struggling in, and somewhere they could derive value from your product.

Having this data at your fingertips can allow you to have more meaningful conversations, driving home the value of your product and efficiently move your prospect from interest to need.

Pick the right moment for conversation.

It’s not just about what you say, but when. Your prospect has a lot going on; researching your product and understanding its potential benefits is likely not his or her top priority. But real-time alerts allow you to make your move when you are top of mind. When you see that a prospect is active on your site, pick up the phone and have that conversation now. Not only are odds in your favor that they’ll have a free moment to talk, but they’re likely to be more receptive to what you have to say.

Recognize key decision-making moments.

Timing can be important in other ways. Be aware of times when your prospect may be forced to make a decision, and time your conversations accordingly. For example, if a deal was lost to a competitor, you may have a loose idea of when that prospects’ contract will be up for renewal. Create a simple lead nurturing program for prospects as they approach their contract deadline, sharing helpful resources and alerting them to new features of your product they may be unaware of.

Odds are, you’re always going to have a few deals that stall and drag their feet when it comes to making a commitment. But by using these insights to connect with your prospects on a more personalized level, you can focus in on addressing their specific needs and driving home the value of your product for them — and can hopefully have them picking up a pen to sign a contract.

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Molly Hoffmeister

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2 responses to Marketing Automation for Sales: Creating a Compelling Event

  1. Nice ideas here, Molly. B2B marketers have great opportunities to engage Sales and customers with “Sales-led” nurturing campaigns, powered by a marketing automation platform. These are mid-funnel programs that help Sales provide valuable content and service during mid-funnel stages of the buying journey. This is an area often left to guess work of either Marketing or Sales when they operate independently. When they combine efforts and use the MA and CRM platform during this stage, it’s very powerful and effective.

    Cheers,
    Brian Hansford
    Heinz Marketing

    • Molly Hoffmeister February 19, 2014 at 7:51 pm

      Hi Brian, Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this! I definitely agree with you that nurturing campaigns are a great way to educate and build rapport with leads in this mid-funnel stage — and are a great opportunity for sales and marketing to align efforts and messaging. Thanks again for reading and I appreciate the feedback!