This lifelong agency-side marketer found himself at the Digital Now conference this week, where inside sales professionals emerged as hybrid/digital sellers playing an increasingly important role on corporate revenue teams. Nicci Nesmith Hammerel, Corporate Visions’ GM, Research, Advisory, and Community, fittingly opened the event with a bang. More on that later.
Yes, fellow marketers, historically AA-ISP has been an inside sales organization, but I heard plenty of exciting thinking for marketers, sales, and anyone engaged in driving customer revenue. I wanted to share 4 comments I particularly liked. (Marketers, I’ve italicized some takeaways just for you.)
1. "Support the evolving role of the human in buying.”
Many can’t yet agree on what “digital revenue” is, but the momentum is quickly shifting toward digital/hybrid sellers in B2B sales. (Session moderator Frank Pinder presented research that showed a 45% drop in buyer preference for face-to-face sales contact during the research and evaluations stages of buying, from pre-pandemic to today.) ADP’s Shelley Cross reinforced this point as she shared the insight that lots is changing for buyers, and digital selling/sellers can play a role in helping them feel more in control by creating well-timed moments of digital intimacy. When sellers validate what the buyer is hearing, feeling, or thinking, they truly help buyers overwhelmed by escalating complexity. Plus, digital sellers are in a great position to address anxiety about the customer experience by modeling the buyer’s heavily digital post-purchase relationship with the brand. Marketers: think about creative ways to humanize buying process content. Customer success leaders: can you collaborate with digital sales leaders to help teams make the most of this opportunity?
2. “Stay with the cadence so we can be with the buyer when they have a bad day.”
Greg Moran, CRO of Conquer, observed that sellers sometimes see a lengthy sales cadence as a straitjacket, but there’s no magic formula for sales to know which touchpoints are essential. Sellers – hang in there with the cadence, and on that day when another vendor annoys your prospect, you’re more likely to be nearby to pick up the pieces. Marketers: Make sure you’re evaluating cadence content performance against the business goal and not just engagement.
3. “Don’t show up as a lone seller.”
Love this insight: more and more buyers bring a team to a Zoom call with a sales rep. Four buyers on the call? At Vonage, Dharmesh Shah advised sellers to confirm the attendee list and invite their experts, too, to match buying teams’ seriousness and commitment. (This might help unclog what Corporate Visions’ Frank Pinder described as a growing trend of “funnel constipation.” I’ll just leave that one here.) Marketers: are you doing everything you can to build your appeal to the needs of each buying team member before Sales hosts a team call?
4. “Closing is an outcome of preparation, diligence, and execution.”
As buying becomes more complex, Greg Moran thought it was a good moment to do away with the myth of the heroic close. His perspective: closing is largely out of the seller’s control – and the best way to get into a position to close is to concentrate on the upstream work that makes closing a deal possible. Marketers: This applies to everyone upstream of the close. Here’s a new opening to build closer alignment and shared goals with Sales in your company.
Over to you, Nicci*.
To open the event, Corporate Visions’ Nicci Nesmith Hammerel – a highly-experienced skier –shared a story about a recent heli-skiing trip in Alaska. A grizzled guide reminded her to “keep your shit tight.” To reinforce potential consequences to attendees, Nicci acted out the unappealing intersection of a stray scarf end with a spinning chopper blade. Her point? When stakes are rising – as they are for former outsiders (inside sales teams) now at the center (digital sales teams) – it’s a great time to buddy up, skill up and show command of the new selling process. The highest peaks are in reach. Marketers – be ready. And KYST.