Sales people that I speak with want to know who is going to buy what and when. And why not, of course every good sales person wants to know who is going to buy what and when so they can go and sell it to them. Before a prospect engages with sales, before they enter a marketing nurture program, before they research a purchase decision on our website, can you determine who is going to buy what and when with any reasonable degree of accuracy?
This sent me on a mission to answer the question of, “who is going to buy what and when?” For Business to Consumer (B2C) markets this question is relatively easy to answer as when a consumer enters your physical store or virtual store on the Internet, they are very likely to buy something from you at that they walk in or land on your website. Much more likely than the person who doesn’t enter your store or visit your website.
For business to business, I’m in a situation where I don’t have a “store” where business purchase decision makers can enter and purchase. However, I do have a corporate website where the business decision makers may or may not happen to visit. And, of course, my resale partners have their websites too, where purchase decision makers may or may not visit as well. To make this more challenging, in business to business (B2B), it’s not one individual, but often a group of individuals involved in the purchase decision.
Let’s Look at the Data
I’m a marketer who has access to lots of data. So I began looking at the data. Trying to see what it could tell me about who in the B2B market was going to buy what and when. As I went on this search, most of the data was “noise” and trying the find the “signal” for someone or a group business people who were likely to make a purchase decision in the near future was like looking for the needle in the haystack.
I was given propensity to purchase models with the top 100 organizations likely to purchase. Great, who do I call about these sales opportunities? The models didn’t tell me this and I had very little data that might tell me who I should market and sell to.
Then triggers hit me like a MAC truck. And you don’t need an expensive propensity model to use them! Of course the company building a new office is much more likely to purchase office furniture, phone systems and other office related infrastructure. So who’s building new offices? This is who is going to buy and I can tell you what and when.
So, are there other triggers? Yes there are! Third party phone interviews where new sales opportunities are shared are an easy hit. There’s stuff in the news and on the web that can indicate a need to purchase. There’s activity on your on your website and on third party websites that can indicate someone or a group of individuals within an organization are considering a purchase decision. There are probably even customer interactions with your customer support team that indicate it’s time for a new purchase.
Truth be told, triggers can be anything, a smell, a song, or a moment in a movie, but for demand generation there are triggers that can be significant. The triggers can identify a 20X more likely to purchase opportunity and can be quite powerful in leading towards highly targeted opportunities. Although triggers can tell you that Its very likely a purchase will occur, they don’t often tell you if there is an existing preference to purchase from one vendor or another. This is where good marketing has to execute correct to develop a preference for the purchase decision to come.
Have you found triggers and are you using them? Let me know what you think in the comments below and feel free to follow along on Twitter, LinkedIn or Subscribe to the Hype and Buzz Blog for regular updates.