Keeping up with the changing buyer’s journey isn’t easy — but you already knew that. Aside from privacy concerns and cookie phase-outs, perhaps one of the most challenging elements is the rise of buying committees. With more than a third (68%) of buyers indicating that they make key business decisions in groups, organizations are tasked with identifying each member and serving them relevant content.
To help marketing and sales teams get a stronger grasp on the modern buying process, the Demand Gen Report team sat down with Darragh Fitzpatrick, Chief Revenue Officer of RollWorks, to shed more light on the importance of providing each committee member with the content and messaging that will influence and accelerate their buying processes.
Demand Gen Report: Why is it so important for organizations to identify specific buying committee members?
Darragh Fitzpatrick: Buying committees aren’t getting any smaller or less complex, despite companies purchasing more software than ever before. If you’re a seller, that adds complexity. So, you need to know your audience and clarify how many influencers you have within the cycle. Once you do, you can leverage outreach to get in front of the entire committee. It puts the onus on sales to not only understand the product you are selling, but also the world of the prospect (like the challenges they have and how other tools work with the one you are selling).
This is where ABM platforms come in, as they enable sales teams to be much more intelligent about the companies they initially target. Think of all the poor targets sales teams wouldn’t have wasted their efforts on if they had insight into best-fit accounts. Targeting the right buyer at the right time can help ensure you’ve built a foundation that naturally accelerates sales.
Either way, it’s critical that your sales team has the insights needed in the first interaction to understand where a prospect is in their decision process and their base knowledge of the solution they’re researching.
DGR: With those insights in-hand, how can organizations tailor specific content assets to buying committees?
Fitzpatrick: Once you’ve done that work to understand the full breadth of the entire committee, it becomes a lot easier to deliver stage-based marketing programs (like digital) and align offers (content/programs) to exactly where prospects are within the funnel. Map out your key personas and buying committee members along the funnel, understand their level of involvement at each stage and clearly identify what you believe is going to be important to them. Sales can run coordinated plays at the same time and both teams can fine-tune messaging accordingly.
DGR: What are some of the biggest mistakes you’re seeing marketers make as the buyer’s journey evolves?
Fitzpatrick: Many companies are so focused on speed (i.e., how long a prospect is in each stage) that they’re neglecting the quality of the buyer’s experience. As a sales leader, I believe you cannot force a buyer to move fast. You have a better chance of accelerating a deal by working to understand what prospects value and delivering the best information for sales to present at each stage of the cycle. The more you focus on the customer (and less on your need for speed), the more impact you’ll see.
To ensure we’re maintaining a customer-centric mentality at RollWorks, we introduced examples of plays that our sales team can share, which provide valuable insights to educate prospects during the sales process. Things like incentives will only help in certain scenarios, so companies can’t just rely on this tactic — they need to keep the customer experience at the heart of their approach to sales acceleration.
DGR: Given the need for deep sales and marketing alignment, do you have any advice on the best ways of aligning the two teams? What are the pitfalls of having unaligned teams?
Fitzpatrick: It comes down to the basics of relationships. I speak to our marketing leaders both 1:1 and in other forums, and the relationship must be collaborative. That establishes a much better dynamic. Another important piece is ensuring that my sales leaders have a tight connection with marketing counterparts. If I see that a manager is underinvesting in that partnership, I will point it out and coach them to improve that.
Second, you must establish a shared understanding of your ideal customer profile (ICP), resourcing and goals across the business. For goals, I think it’s important that there’s transparency in how these were calculated to build mutual trust. For example, if you’re expecting marketing to deliver X opportunities in a given segment, but there’s a disconnect once it’s brought up — you have a problem. Once you’ve established goals together, I would recommend a weekly review of upper-, middle- and lower-funnel results with all levels of marketing, ops and sales leadership.
Marketing and sales alignment has been a hot topic for many years. At the end of the day, alignment is all about efficiency and compounding efforts for ideal outcomes. If you are not closely aligned, it really lends itself to wasted effort and resources — ultimately (negatively) impacting core business goals.