Sales and Marketing, it’s time you had “the talk”…
…about the silent killer in your sales pipeline stages.
I know it’s scary, but your teams need to come together if you want to stop prospects from falling out of the buying process. The reality is B2B decision makers are tuning out all the email campaigns and cold calls because they no longer trust your sales reps and marketing messages.
No matter how much content marketing, nurturing and social selling you do, one thing won’t change: your buyers’ fear that they’re making the wrong choice. They’re more afraid than ever before because they’ve never had more options. They’re terrified because their next promotion, their job and—more importantly—their reputation are all on the line.
Instead, your buyers turn to their peers to make important buying decisions—and they don’t always hear good things (or anything at all) about your brand. This only increases their fear, uncertainty and doubt about your brand—as well as the chance they’ll look for other vendors.
So, how do you change the conversation going on around your buyers?
We’ve written a guide that explains how marketing can support all stages in the sales pipeline to stop the silent killer and grow revenue through an advocate marketing strategy.
Read on to learn more about why your sales and marketing teams need advocates to prevent deals from being derailed.
How advocacy stops your prospects from falling out of your sales pipeline stages…
The problem is, you can’t tap into peer-to-peer conversations about your brand yourself. You need help from your company’s advocates: those happy customers who are willing to introduce you to their networks, ease the minds of skeptical prospects, and share their success stories with the world. Their word means more than anything your sales and marketing can say about your company.
You can’t alleviate your buyers’ fear on your own. You need help from your advocates—your buyers’ trusted peers. If your marketing team doesn’t have an advocate marketing strategy in place today, they’re not doing enough to help you achieve your revenue targets.
Advocate marketing is the systematic practice of:
- Engaging your customers all the time—not just when you need something from them
- Asking them to talk about their experiences with your brand
- Recognizing and rewarding them every time they help you out
Here’s how advocate marketing can improve your pipeline:
1. Fill your pipeline with warm referral leads
You are 4.2X more likely to get an appointment if you have a personal connection with a buyer.
Your advocates have your next customer in their networks—you just don’t know about them yet. If your marketing team doesn’t have a formal referral program in place, you’re missing out on red-hot leads that convert better and close faster because they have a trusted peer reference built right in.
“A direct referral lead is over 36X more valuable than a lead generated by a cold call, 10X more valuable than a trade show lead, and at least 4X more valuable than a web lead.”
–Ken Krogue, Founder and President of InsideSales.com
2. Close deals faster with advocacy, not references
80% of buyers said they were doing more research before buying, and 53% said the purchasing cycle had become longer from the year prior.
Waiting until the end of the final stages of your sales pipeline to introduce a reference is too little, too late. You need advocates to support your prospects at every stage of the buying process—not just at the end. You can’t do that with the handful of references you have today.
“We are relying on advocates to give references to target accounts and we are turning to them for referrals to companies that look like them.”
–Joe Chernov, VP of Marketing at InsightSquared
3. Improve your online reputation
The buyer’s journey may be up to 90% complete before a salesperson is contacted.
Buyers look to third-party review websites, such as G2 Crowd, Spiceworks and AppExchange, to see what their peers are saying about you long before they speak to your sales team. The only thing worse than finding negative reviews is finding no reviews at all. Asking your advocates to post genuine reviews will help prospects put you on their vendor shortlist sooner and make a buying decision faster.
“Because of Influitive, we now feel more confident when prospects are researching us that they are going to have a good first impression of our product and brand.”
–Tiffany Beddow, Customer Marketing Manager at ON24