Dun & Bradstreet also announced that the Folloze B2B personalized marketing platform is fully integrated into D&B Rev.Up ABX. Folloze is available in both standard and advanced editions.
The D&B Data Cloud personalizes Folloze for landing pages from both inbound and outbound prospects. D&B customer profile data supports campaigns executed on display, email, or via sales outreach.
With Folloze, Rev.Up ABX customers can create and launch “data-powered, personalized omnichannel experiences across the entire buyer journey.” Folloze captures first and third-party account and individual behavior analytics which are fed back to the CDP. Folloze can also orchestrate targeted campaign activities across sales, account development, and channels.
“B2B buying and selling has changed forever,” said Eric Bauer, Chief Growth Officer at Folloze. “Today’s digital-first buyers want to be treated as partners – not campaign targets. As such, creating the engaging account-based experiences across the entire buyer journey represents the new table stakes for every marketing team. Our alliance with Dun & Bradstreet makes it easy for marketing and revenue teams to retool and quickly deliver dynamic contextual experiences across a wide range of digital touchpoints.”
Companies that deployed Rev.Up ABX include Thomson-Reuters, Schneider, Citrix, Rackspace Technology, and Sierra Wireless.
D&B Rev.Up ABX is GA across all five modules (the four channels plus the Advanced edition that combines the four). The Folloze integration will GA in June.
D&B Rev.Up ABX pricing starts at $30,000. This fee includes the ability to acquire data from the Data Cloud and the embedded CDP (D&B Lattice) along with a single channel to activate a campaign such as email, sales, or web. Other Standard features include visitor intelligence, lead form enrichment, a seat of D&B Hoover’s, Salesforce and MAP import connectors, Salesforce Buyer Insights (10 seats), the Outreach connector (10 seats), analytics, and programmatic audience building.
The Advanced edition applies to clients looking to license at least three modules. It supports broad data ingestion, social activation, paid search, and real-time visitor intelligence feeds to content management systems, along with all four channels.
Katie Martell, a marketing thought leader and former CMO, reported that she was pitched a deepfake video service that clones faces and voices so that sales reps can “create 1000s of personalized videos in the time it takes to make one.” Of course, the whole idea of these being personalized is ridiculous. Here is how they describe themselves (I have chosen not to publicize the vendor’s name):
“So basically it creates a clone of your face and voice (also known as a deepfake). Allowing you to create 1000s of personalized videos in the time it takes to make one. Which is amazing to see how far technology has come.
The idea is that video is the by far the most personal way of communicating digitally. Putting a face to the 100s of faceless emails we receive each day can be really powerful for improving engagement. As you can imagine this is huge for sales and marketing teams (and newsletters 😄).”
I don’t normally editorialize in my newsletter, but this is a terrible idea. For B2B companies and sales reps, authenticity and honesty are necessary for long-term success. We already know that sales engagement works best when there is a level of personalization matched with authenticity. Spamming the market with fake videos will quickly undermine your credibility. Reps have had success posting short videos with whiteboards that say “hello, <insert first name here>.” They are intended to have low production values but indicate that the rep has invested some time into a quick, personalized message. The point is that they are authentic. SalesLoft data has shown that emails with short videos receive significantly higher clickthrough rates.
One of the variables that investors look at is LTV/CAC. Deception will quickly reduce a firm’s Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), but once it is discovered, their Lifetime Value (LTV) will plummet, and their CAC will explode. It is the sales engagement equivalent of junk food. It will give your company a short-burst of energy but destroy your brand health.
The asynchronous video companies (e.g., Vidyard, Hippo Video, Videolicious) have had great success supporting sales. Their business models would be put at risk by such technology. Instead of videos being a harbinger of authenticity and indicators that the rep has invested time creating a short video, they would become emblems of deception. Likewise, Sales Engagement, MAP, and ABM Platform vendors should refuse to partner with any firms employing deepfakes as they have the potential to undermine ABM communications.
In the end, deepfake marketing will be recognized as SPAM and result in a rapidly dropping email deliverability score. It would be a pyrrhic victory.
Trust is critical for sales reps. Reps that deploy trickery will undermine their ability to sell long-term. They should avoid such deceptions like the plague. None of the deepfake vendor’s customers agreed to be named, an early indicator that trialers of deepfake technology are concerned about brand damage.
And more broadly, we are already having trouble agreeing on objective truth as social media provide custom feeds and recommendations that conform to our existing biases. There have always been problems with how photos and videos were cut or manipulated (e.g., slowing down the video to give a drunken appearance, darkening images of black public figures). Still, deepfakes create false narratives backed by realistic-looking videos that put words in people’s mouths. It is a new form of slander and factual distortion that will continue to undermine trust in the media, government, and social institutions.
CEO Manny Medina used his Outreach Unleash virtual conference, which was rescheduled from an early April live event, to inspire and motivate leaders to pivot their businesses. Noting that his company nearly failed before finding value in some internal sales engagement tools that saved his company, he discussed two strategies for companies: hunkering down or pivoting. His recommendation was to pivot into new markets, products, and messaging. For most companies, their “customer’s realities have changed, and the old value proposition won’t work.”
Some will hunker down, pare employees, marketing, and spend, hoping to wait out the storm. This is a survival strategy, but it leaves the company weakened when things improve and demand returns. Hunkering down assumes that the current situation is temporary and won’t have a long-term impact on their markets. Firms that hunker down may survive, but they cede market share, ongoing product development, and an understanding of evolving market requirements. Bolder competitors continue to build their product, establish relationships, and prepare for the thaw.
There are a few companies in segments where demand is exploding. These lucky firms need to manage explosive growth around e-commerce, e-delivery, or digital services. To these firms, Outreach is asking how can we best meet your needs? But most companies do not fall into those categories.
“A lot of customers are coming to us looking for guidance on how to get through this. They want insight into how to manage their teams remotely and how to pivot their business.”
Outreach CEO Manny Medina
Medina recommends pivoting in search of new markets, products, and opportunities. Doing so requires that firms carefully analyze their skills, assets, and messaging. Firms need to “measure and iterate,” “be one with the customer,” and “act with urgency.” Sales reps and management need to be doing more check-ins with clients. The goal isn’t to be selling today, but sharing ideas, building trust, and empathetically discussing needs. Sales reps need to be disciplined and ”listen to understand, not to respond,” while management must identify new markets, personas, and messaging.
Medina views the pandemic and subsequent crisis in demand as an opportunity to grow, become more efficient, and get closer to one’s customers. In a shrinking market, the bold may not grow revenue; still, they will increase market share, investigate new opportunities, and build relationships, which will allow them to outperform when the market improves.
Outreach is “working hard to master the ability to create trusting relationships — at a distance,” said Medina. “Only two months ago, it was religion that you needed to meet someone in person to build trust – now we are doing it all over video.”
Now, COVID has given everyone an excuse to come in below their number this year. However, you have no excuse for not answering yes to the following questions.
– Did your teams become more efficient? – Did you iterate and pivot until you found a sweet spot that worked? – Did you level up your sales process to make WFH successful?
Now is the time to act on the things you CAN control. To build for the future.
Outreach CMO Max Altschuler
Internally, Medina has emphasized communications, switching from weekly emails to weekly videos and weekly office hours via Zoom. “It helps me be visible and showcase both a serious tone and an optimistic one.”
Outreach is also building loyalty amongst its staff. It has retained all of its 550 employees. To assist WFH parents, Outreach is providing $100 per week for educational materials, tutoring, tools, and supplies. Outreach has also provided additional support beyond its healthcare plan to employee families impacted by COVID-19.
Outreach chose not to apply for PPP loans even though its investors suggested they do so. The firm, however, continues to invest 40% of its revenue in product development, preparing for the next market inflection point.
Outreach also chose to continue its expansion. It opened a London EMEA office in February with plans to its first East Coast office in New York City later this year. The firm has over 400 clients headquartered in NYC, nearly ten percent of its customer base. The new office will be led by Regional VP David Rubenstein who has over fifteen years of industry experience, the past six years at Salesforce.
Bombora announced the availability of a Growth package which provides a “concentrated” set of intent data for SMBs. Both first and third-party intent data are delivered through CRM, MAP, and CDPs including Salesforce, Marketo, HubSpot, LiveRamp, Oracle, Lattice Engines, Leadspace, and Everstring.
First-party intent data is derived from a firm’s own website. Bombora quietly acquired NetFactor for visitor intelligence and packages it alongside its third-party intent data from dozens of B2B media websites. Combined, first and third-party intelligence help identify which companies are actively in-market for solutions. Firms can opt to run campaigns which target high-intent companies (e.g. programmatic, email), or deem the leads marketing qualified and pass them to sales.
Growth provides an unlimited feed of high-intent companies spanning up to eighteen topics. Bombora identifies companies with a surge score of at least 70, which approximately represents the top 6% of companies with interest in a topic. As multiple topics are being measured, the feed covers approximately the top 25% of companies. Because Bombora compares surge scores against topical baselines, surge scores are normalized such that companies in industries related to a topic and very large companies do not dominate. Surge scores are updated weekly and available for 2.8 million company domains across 6,100 B2B topics.
package also includes dedicated support, visitor intelligence, browser access,
and integrations. Pricing begins at $17,500 plus integration fees.
“What’s happened over the last five or ten years is that the way companies buy products and services has changed pretty significantly” as buyers conduct a significant percentage of their research prior to raising their hand. “In the past, if you were going into a buying cycle, you’d just engage with the companies that you think you might ultimately work with; and those companies would be part of that process from the beginning. The promise of intent data is to tap into that part of the process which is no longer visible to a vendor during the prospect’s buying cycle.”
Bombora SVP of Data Sales Mike Burton
last 12 to 18 months, the market has figured out that this data is really
important, in terms of getting into sales cycles and driving pipeline,” continued
tracks first and third-party intent to the location level. Thus, there
are no issues with GDPR compliance or the collection of personally identifiable
Bombora identifies surging topics by location with topics often acting as proxies for personas. “If Boeing, in Texas, is in a big research surge on accounting software and budgeting software, there’s a really good chance that’s coming out of a finance department, or a finance persona, rather than H.R. or a sales department,” said Burton.
I’m starting to feel like the schoolmarm* calling out grammar and spelling errors. I am not normally a stickler about such things, but sales reps and marketers need to do a better job on the basics. I called out marketers a few weeks ago (“How Not to Write a Press Release“) and this week it is sales reps. Here is my letter to Sales Reps:
As you adopt sales engagement tools, you will be sending more emails, but writing fewer words for each email. Your email templates should be perfectly grammatical, so the 20% that you write to personalize your messages should also be perfectly grammatical. I’m not seeing this. Saturday, I received emails from two different tactile marketing companies (the bizarre category name of companies that send direct mail gifts) with run-ons and missing punctuation.
You do yourself and your company no favors by failing basic grammar checks (I use Grammarly) before hitting send. Good grammar supports clarity, displays professionalism, and signals that the small things matter.
Here is an example from earlier today:
“Call a play to connect with me for a quick overview and I’ll send you an example NFL team swag item (your team) or a $25 Dinner eGift if you are more of an NHL fan, like myself.”
The Call to Action from a tactile marketing vendor
If you received this sentence in an email, would you be more or less inclined towards their call to action (CTA) due to the poor grammar and twisted syntax?
Yes, the $25 gift is a strong CTA, but the poor grammar undermines trust. If you can’t do the small things right (e.g. proofing your email), then why would I assume you would get the big things right (e.g. managing the logistics of thousands of individually packaged and personalized eGifts)?
We all make mistakes when writing, and some of us are better than others at the mechanics of the written word. I’m simply suggesting that you do a quick readthrough of what you write before you send it. Using a grammar checking tool is a good backstop.
Another trick: put on our headphones and use Microsoft Word’s read aloud function. Close your eyes and listen for clarity, word choice, and messaging. Yes, this is a timely step; you may want to reserve it for key decisionmakers at ABM accounts, but sometimes you want to slow down to ensure you get things right.
Word choice is also important. When you are unsure whether you are properly using a word, select a different word or type Define <word> into Google or Bing. For emails, simple words should be employed and jargon avoided.
And to sales engagement vendors, how about some tools to flag style and grammar issues? As you develop AI tools for email, flag both best practices (e.g. Subject line too long, CTA not in the top third of the body, bullet points lower click through rates) and grammar issues.
Let’s write well, not good.
* Readers of the future: In 2019 the term schoolmarm was a bit antiquated and slightly pejorative, but not on the politically incorrect list of phrases. If in 2022 the term enters the list of micro-aggressions, mea culpa.
After DiscoverOrg acquired Zoominfo in February, the firm maintained both brands and announced that a new platform which supported both services would be available this summer. At the time, the assumption was that the Zoominfo brand would be retired and the firm would move forward as DiscoverOrg. After all, DiscoverOrg was the larger of the two firms and the brand was highly associated with data quality, technographics, and rich executive profiles while Zoominfo was known for having the largest set of B2B emails and direct dials spanning companies of all sizes and positions.
commissioned research into both brands and found that Zoominfo had broader
brand awareness. The research also indicated that it would be less
expensive to increase brand equity than brand awareness. Both brands had
their strengths, but, according to Chief Growth Officer Katie Bullard, it was
easier to buy brand perception than brand awareness. Furthermore, research
indicated that the Zoominfo brand perception had improved since acquisition.
was significantly more — three times — the market awareness around the ZoomInfo
brand than the DiscoverOrg brand,” said CEO Henry Schuck. “I’ve tried to
pride myself on making the decision that is right for the business and not
necessarily easy for me or convenient for me. This was obvious.
This was the right decision for the business, and I wasn’t going to let
the nostalgia for the DiscoverOrg brand overshadow that.”
on this research, the firm decided to retain the Zoominfo brand and deploy the
DiscoverOrg brand as a “powered by” brand booster. Thus, the new platform
will be labeled Zoominfo Powered by DiscoverOrg for the next year or two.
“The new platform will be known as ZoomInfo powered by DiscoverOrg and combines the strengths and benefits of the DiscoverOrg platform with those of the ZoomInfo platform, which it acquired in February 2019. Designed to be the single source of B2B data truth for sales and marketing professionals, the new platform offers a suite of software tools coupled with unrivaled data coverage, accuracy and depth. As a result, customers gain a highly actionable 360-degree view of contacts, companies, and opportunities to target and convert. Deeply integrated into both workflows and technology stacks, ZoomInfo powered by DiscoverOrg works seamlessly with all the leading sales, marketing and CRM platforms…”
With this launch, ZoomInfo Powered by DiscoverOrg features an unparalleled combination of proprietary AI and machine learning tools, a vast contributory network, deep two-way business application integrations, and human verification from over 300 researchers. The result is the most unique [sic] and effective SaaS platform designed to empower companies to deliver more predictable and sustainable growth.”
Zoominfo Press Release (September 10, 2019)
firm’s mission is “To create a world where every company has a clear view of
their ideal customers and how to connect with them.”
new Zoominfo logo is black with a standalone Z and a rising arrow.
site is simplified from DiscoverOrg’s last design with white, gray, lavender,
and black as the primary background colors. Red and lavender are employed
for buttons and hyperlinks. Most text is black with white employed for
text in buttons and black backgrounds. The site is much less frenetic
than the last DiscoverOrg design. A splash of lavender and light use of
pastels, which are not often used in B2B websites, provide a calming effect.
new website tagline is “Your business deserves more.” The firm continues,
“ZoomInfo gives you more. We combine the leading business contact
database with best-in-class technology to pinpoint, process, and deliver the
marketing and sales intelligence you need— exactly when and how you need it, to
always hit your number.”
Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) reached $350 million across 13,500 customers. ARR has grown significantly since the Zoominfo acquisition. According to Inc., combined 2018 revenue was $222 million. As ARR is higher than revenue when a subscription service is growing, the likely 2019 revenue is around $300 million+.
Zoominfo also has to reposition its data acquisition model. DiscoverOrg began employing web data acquisition tools last year, so that methodology was already understood by their clients. The firm also has licensed data sets in the past, however sparingly. The new website discusses four methods for data gathering: signature block mining; automated online crawling and machine learning; in-house editorial teams: and third-party data licensing.
block intelligence comes from Zoominfo’s community members that permit access
to signature blocks in exchange for Zoominfo access. It is the most
controversial of their methods as data is being harvested on third-parties
without their consent. While both companies are GDPR compliant,
Zoominfo’s approach was simply to add an EU contact filter. This is an
area that they will likely need to address further, particularly as US states
adopt GDPR-like regulations and Zoominfo expands its “personal contact
learning gathers technographic and firmographic intelligence from job boards,
web sites, news, and SEC filings. It is a standard data gathering method
and broadly employed across the industry.
“We use cutting edge AI/ML technologies to help GTM [go-to-market] teams stay laser-focused on the right markets and best opportunities to hit their number.”
research for gathering and verifying company and contact data has long been at
the core of DiscoverOrg’s brand and value proposition. Zoominfo continues
to maintain the DiscoverOrg editorial team of over 300 researchers. The
editorial process is the basis of their high data quality and rich biographic
and technographic intelligence. As such, it is the justification for
their premium pricing. Hopefully, the firm doesn’t make the mistake that
D&B did after acquiring Hoovers and allowing its editorial capabilities to
atrophy when a high-quality dataset (Hoover’s editorial coverage of 42,000 companies)
was mixed with a much larger universe of companies and contacts (D&B
WorldBase). Given DiscoverOrg’s long-term focus on data quality and
editorial research, it is unlikely that they would make this mistake.
Conversations I’ve had with Schuck and Bullard over the years support
third-party datasets are licensed. Content includes public company data
(long a gap of both services), M&A details (added last year), government
data sources, and social media feeds.
database has grown to 20 million company profiles with 5 million C-level
contacts, 16 million decision maker direct dials, and 20 million decision maker
emails. Globally, Zoominfo provides 66 million emails and 42 million
direct dials. They also maintain departed contact details to assist with
According to the Portland Business Journal, private equity firms TA Associates, The Carlyle Group and 22C Capital have invested at least $790 million in Zoominfo. The PBJ also noted that Zoominfo is profitable.
So congratulations to CEO Manny Medina and the team at Outreach. The Sales engagement firm has been going head-to-head with SalesLoft to become the leading vendor in its category.
Outreach is based in Seattle and reached unicorn status earlier this year, a rather impressive feat for a five-year old company that doesn’t rent scooters. It is on track to hit 450 employees by the end of the year and has doubled its revenue growth each year since 2016.
Outreach has 3,500 customers including Adobe, DocuSign and eBay.
One area of rapid growth is in its Galaxy partner ecosystem. New partners include Seismic, BombBomb, and Sendoso. The Seismic integration allows reps to insert Seismic content into emails and multi-recipient sequences via a Seismic icon. Reps are notified when prospects view content, allowing them to “transition the prospect into a high-priority, more personalized Sequence.” Sales reps can also send follow-up content after a successful demo or meeting and modify messaging based upon which Seismic content is resonating.
BombBomb supports personalized videos which are inserted into
sequences. When a recipient watches the
video, reps can trigger an urgent call task or place the viewer into a
high-touch sequence. Recorded videos and
screen captures are also supported. BombBomb is priced at $29.99 per seat per
month with volume discounts.
Sendoso supports sequences which include e-gift or direct mail steps. Reps can also setup triggers when e-gift links are activated or direct mail items received. For example, I recently attended a trade show and received a box of mini-cupcakes afterwards with an accompanying note from the Sendoso sales rep.
Determine who your audience is and write appropriately for the audience. For example common goals of press releases are media pick-up, attract new customers, educate current customers,
attract investors, populate Google search, etc. Write for the specific you are targeting and use vernacular they are familiar with.
Keep the release short – 400-600 words max
For best Google results, headline should be 70 characters or less (or else Google will cut it off)
Make sure company name is in headline
Make sure important keywords (that their readers would be searching on) are in headline and first sentence of release.
In headline, frontload the keyword at the beginning of the headline
First paragraph should include the 5 Ws and a good lead sentence
Have a boilerplate that is titled “About XYZ company.” Keep that paragraph fairly short and include a written out URL for their corporate website. Include social handles if they have
Add anchor text to first paragraph on first mention of company name or product so that reader can quickly get to their site
Add bullets for key points
Include your contact information including phone and email
If there are multimedia assets, consider linking to them in the press release
I’m not sure whether PR teams are getting worse or I simply read more press releases, but marketers have to start using Grammarly and observe basic grammar and style tips.
One issue is simply bad grammar. I write a weekly newsletter and most of the errors pointed out by Grammarly are found inside quotes derived from websites, collateral, press releases, and blogs. I wasn’t an English major, but many marketers were English or Humanities majors and should know better. It is easy to run your copy through a grammar/style checker.
B2B press releases are a prime example. They are often written by junior marketers with limited technical knowledge of the product. Unfortunately, press releases are reviewed by multiple departments with different perspectives and recommendations. The result is an often wordy, buzzword-filled press release that is incomprehensible to all but industry insiders (and sometimes we struggle as well).
I pulled the following opening paragraph from a press release (see image above) to call out common issues:
Long Titles — 120 characters is a Tweet, not a headline. BusinessWire suggests headlines run 70 or fewer characters. Google cuts headlines at 70 characters.
Buzzwords — “Account-Based Experiences,” “Predictive B2B Intent,” and “AI” are all found in the headline. I had to look up ABX. It is a variation on Account Based Marketing promoted by Adobe which recognizes that ABM is broader than marketing. So not only was the headline a buzzword salad, but one of the buzzwords wasn’t particularly buzzy.
Absurd Puffery — Puffery is a common practice in marketing so acceptable. Puffery that is bald-faced lying is simply ridiculous. You cannot credibly call yourself “the leading B2B Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) company” when you have 21 employees listed on LinkedIn and do not have the words B2B or DaaS on your homepage.
Muddled Opening Sentence — The opening sentence should be clear and capture the 5 Ws. It shouldn’t have nested parenthetical statements and be overly wordy. “Marketo LaunchPoint integration” is much clearer than “a new integration available through LaunchPoint by Marketo, an Adobe company.”
Failure to Proof Your Copy — Typos include misspelling a customer’s name (LogMeIzn), multiple TM symbols for the same product, failed parallelism in lists, and a colon after a preposition.
Poorly Named Products — eCHO is an affectation that reads as e-CHOW not Echo. It also needlessly drives spell checkers crazy. “eCHO Predictive B2B Intent for Marketo Engage” is a mouthful. How about simply “Echo Intent for Marketo Engage?”
Failure to Test Your Hyperlinks — A hyperlink to an information page takes the reader to a service login page.
Omit a Hyperlink to Your Home Page — Really?
Finally, can we improve the quotes put in the mouths of executives and alliance partners? They often sound like five people wrote a non-grammatical buzzword salad that says both everything and nothing. When I am quoted in press releases, I work closely with the company to ensure the quote is tight, grammatical, and meaningful. The draft quote is bounced back and forth several times with the vendor’s marketing team to ensure that each sentence and word adds value. Here is an example of a published quote and my rewrite:
“The best accounts to engage with are the ones that are already actively researching around your solution. eCho intent data from <Anonymous Grammar Offender> offers an opportunity for marketers to engage with accounts that have a high propensity to buy, ultimately delivering a more qualified pipeline to sales and increasing the speed of the sales process.”
Press Release Quote
eCho intent data from <Wordy Vendor> identifies accounts that are actively researching solutions like yours. eCho delivers an actionable set of highly qualified, engaged leads which help sales reps exceed quota.
My Alternative Press Release Quote
A press release is a key messaging opportunity. Failure to follow basic rules of grammar and clarity tells customers, partners, and prospects that you are a lazy company that cannot be counted on to do the basics. That is marketing malpractice. It would be akin to showing up late to an interview with a stained shirt and a sense of entitlement.
The Greek orator Demosthenes was said to have treated his speech impediment by talking with pebbles in his mouth and shouting above the roar of the ocean waves.
In high school, Larry Bird would shoot 500 free throws every morning before his first class.
When I started my professional sales career in 2004, I wrote out every opening, iteration, objection handle, and closing approach. I then recorded myself speaking them until I was comfortable. I iterated on each talk track 20+ times until it was authentic and the language flowed naturally. Then I ditched the scripts and went to work.
What can you do outside of your day to day operations to be exceptional at your craft?
SalesLoft CEO Kyle Porter (LinkedIn Post)
SalesLoft CEO Kyle Porter is a strong advocate for authenticity. Simply knowing your pitch is insufficient. Sales reps have to master their craft and infuse it with authenticity. This means developing a deep understanding of how to sell your product and service but then combining what is unique about your story (both personal and corporate) with passion for the product or service you sell.
It also means that you cannot be giving a robotic pitch or a one-size-fits-all spiel. Great salespeople adjust their message and approach to the prospect. This adjustment is across many dimensions:
Job Function – What is their department and role within the department?
Job Level – How high in the organization are they?
Industry – What is your value proposition with respect to the purchaser’s industry? How do they benefit?
Buyer Role – As part of a purchasing committee, are they the economic buyer, technical buyer, influencer, etc.?
Prospect Knowledge about Your Offering – You need to understand how knowledgeable they are about your offering and those of your competitors and then speak to that level.
Concerns – The larger the value or strategic importance of a B2B purchase, the greater the FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt). FUD is also higher if the total cost of ownership or switching costs are high. If you are inauthentic, you can raise the level of FUD. If you can connect authentically with the buyer, you build trust and drive down the level of FUD.
Individual – What are the individual concerns of the buyer? What is the buyer’s communication style?
Scripts work well for novice reps and those learning a new product category or vertical, but they should be viewed as building blocks towards a polished, authentic sales voice.
One should also avoid focusing on features. A feature-focused monologue says to buyers, “you figure out whether my product / service will help you because I don’t understand that myself.” The focus should always be on benefits and value with features only used to justify your value proposition or to address concerns of technical buyers.
And the conversation needs to be interactive. Meeting intelligence analytics display who is talking during a call. A sales rep can visually review whether he / she controlled the conversation or it was a true conversation.
Sales trainers have begun emphasizing the value of storytelling as a way to connect with the emotional buyer. Marketers long approached consumer sales as an emotional pitch and B2B as a rationale pitch, but are now arguing that rational B2B pitches ignore the inherent FUD involved when making strategic purchases.
As sales reps begin to be coached by sales engagement analytics (directly and via feedback from managers and trainers), they should shift away from controlling conversations and become more interactive, present, and empathetic.