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Binge buyers better served by more targeted info, fewer sales calls

Scott Gillum, president of Gyro’s Washington, D.C., office and head of channel marketing practice, urges B2B companies to let prospects gather all the information they need on their own without inserting an unwanted sales pitch

I’m a 'binger'. I’m 'all in' when it comes to consuming content and I’m not alone. Netflix reports that of its 40 million U.S. subscribers, more than 60 percent report being 'binge watchers'. We also know that our personal habits influence our professional habits, so could there be a group of 'binge buyers' who are currently being underserved with our content efforts, and could that be hurting our sales efforts?

For example, I’m working with a client to help them 'digitalize' the organization. As part of the effort, I’m evaluating software tools to help improve the performance of their content marketing efforts. I’ve binged on vendor content, searching their sites, watching videos, to evaluate their capabilities and functionality to judge their fit for the client’s needs. One of the vendors limited information on their site and required me to request a demo to learn more about their tool.

It took the vendor 10 days to reach out to me and it took another three days to align our schedules for the demo. The day of the 'demo' and I didn’t see the tool, instead I got a 10-page PDF pitch. Running out of time that day forced me to set up yet another call more than a week away. Needless to say, they didn’t make the shortlist of vendors to consider.

Buyers in the drivers seat

Here’s the point, we know from CEB, Sirius Decision, Forrester etc. that buyers are more than halfway through the buying process before they engage a salesperson. If you are an organization trying to insert a salesperson in upstream process you run the risk of slowing the buying process and/or being eliminated from it.

Your prospects may be 'bingers' like myself. Let them go deep and gather all the information they need on their own. It will accelerate your sales cycles, increase lead volume, and lower the cost to sell. I know it will set off alarms with your lead tracking process, but the fact is, buyers control the process and they will let you know when they need to talk to someone.

Still skeptical? Let’s take a look at Atlassian, open source provider of project management and app software. Last year, Atlassian sold more than $300 million in enterprise software without a single salesperson. The keys to their success: a great product, word of mouth and letting buyers sell themselves. “Customers don’t want to call a salesperson if they don’t have to,” say Scott Farquhar, Atlassian’s co-chief executive officer, “They much rather be able to find the answers on the website.”

Don’t get me wrong; I believe salespeople can serve a very valuable role for the buyer, and for organizations. But that role has shifted, instead of being the product 'spokesperson' they should now focus on better understanding what information buyers need to drive a consensus on a decision within their organization.

Not satisfied with my first call with the rep that left me without seeing the tool, I found a product demo video on Vimeo. I doubt they even knew it existed, so by second call with the salesperson I was already well versed on the tool. I knew how it differed from the other tools I was evaluating, but what I didn’t know was why my client would need that functionality. And that is where the salesperson could have been helpful, and could have earned them a shot at the sale. The lesson, bingers are out there and growing, if you throttle bandwidth on content, it could cost you opportunity.