Buyers are doing more research before the sale than ever – bringing Marketing further into traditional sales space. How can your materials prepare the ground, and give your sales team the best possible chance?

Even in B2B, buying is at least partly a gut decision. Trust and confidence play a big role, and this is only amplified by multiple stakeholders and influencers.

For the switched-on marketer, that’s great news. Because it gives you lots of opportunities to stack the odds in your sales team’s favour…

To be relevant, do your research.

You might have the best product in the world, but nobody’s going to care unless they can see how it applies directly to their situation, aspirations and challenges.

Listening and understanding are pre-requisites that earn you the right to even speak. So make sure your engagement is two-way, drill into your data, and find out where you’re a real answer to genuine needs.

To demonstrate expertise, broaden their horizons.

It goes without saying that buyers expect you to add value, by being an expert in your field – and specifically suggesting solutions and approaches they might not have thought of.

Content marketing is a great way for brands to start this education role, opening prospects’ eyes to ideas and possibilities, and provoking great sales conversations further down the line.

To earn trust, show real results.

In Marketing, we ought to have more of the facts at our fingertips than anyone else. It’s down to us to give the sales person the evidence that what they’re saying really is true.

That means unbiased, verifiable figures. Analytics and analysis. Return on Investment calculations. Real-world examples and results. But also relevant case studies and testimonials: what your customer says about you is far more powerful than anything you might claim about yourself.

To build relationships, create chances to collaborate.

You’ll lower the barrier to a purchase if you can help your sales team begin to make the subtle transition from vendor to partner.

It needn’t be complicated to make opportunities for sales colleagues to interact, exchange ideas and generally be the supportive but also the ‘challenging’ expert your customers will love. Online and particularly social media frameworks are useful, but even good old offline events can open the door to get involved.

Clearly, the actual execution of these ideas will come down to your own customers, product and brand. It’s important to be appropriate to your context, and really understand the customer.

Your best resource for that kind of intelligence? You guessed it: your colleagues in sales.

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