I recently attended an event hosted by IDC, the global market intelligence firm, which focused on the future of customer experience and marketing’s role within that. The presentation centered around 3 pillars – smart personalisation, emotional engagement and customer adventures. Working for Agent3, where we spend our days looking to build the most effective targeting and engagement plans that deliver impact in very specific audiences, it was interesting to hear what we already knew, reinforced.
No one is in any doubt that personalisation is key to delivering engagement, particularly later in the funnel when you’re trying to convert prospects into opportunities. But most organizations struggle to achieve it at scale, or in a way that doesn’t feel obviously automated. We’ve all seen the clumsy “Hi Insert Name” emails! For those who follow Agent3, you’ll know that we recently acquired ITTS who’ve made a specialism of having late-funnel, unscripted, free-flowing, peer-to-peer, personalized discussions with senior decision makers over the phone. The ITTS team includes a group of very experienced IT sales professionals who know and understand the market context and the day to day pressures facing the decision makers that they’re speaking to. By leveraging their industry experience, they’re able to elevate the conversation and uncover non-public domain insights. So what, you might say!
We’ve all received sales calls where it is clear that the person on the other end wants to have a conversation about our requirements and even planned investments, yet they have no real understanding of what they’re speaking about. And if you ask them any questions they quickly stumble and expose their lack of knowledge. There is no attempt to personalize the discussion to your needs or your organization’s objectives. The result of this generic, low quality approach is usually two fold. Firstly, you’re unlikely to engage in the conversation as it’s just not relevant (meaning wasted budget for the vendor funding the calling). Secondly, your perception of the brand who called is likely to be negatively impacted (meaning you’re probably less likely to engage with them, than if they hadn’t called at all!). This seems crazy to me, having seen up close how closely organizations guard the brand which they’ve built, forensically reviewing social media posts, content and design work before allowing it to be released. Yet marketing teams seem to be comfortable with letting external providers call important accounts and decision makers on their behalf, with little more than a one page script!
Personalisation is essential, but it’s also difficult to do well in a B2B context. In particular if you’re targeting time poor, senior decision makers. Late funnel, direct calling conversations are probably the most personal outreach you could create as a marketer outside of face to face events/meetings. So when you’re planning your next late funnel calling programme would you like to stay on script? Or is it more important to take an approach which allows a personalized, free-flowing conversation resulting in deeper engagement and a more likely sales outcome?
If you’d like to be working with callers who are more ‘trusted advisors’ than ‘sales reps,’ please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org