Thursday, September 30, 2010

Can you read the "online body language" of your prospects?

By Mark Helfen

Given how much the internet and social media have empowered your potential customers, how can business efficiently sell complex products with long sales cycles?

According to Jon Miller, "social media has changed the relationship between sellers and buyers."  Companies have to respond by changing the relationship between marketing and sales.

Miller, VP Marketing at Marketo, will be the speaker at the SDForum Marketing SIG meeting, 6:30 p.m. on October 11. Marketo is in the business of "revenue cycle management... revolutionizing how marketing and sales teams of all sizes work - and work together - to accelerate predictable revenue." At our meeting, he will discuss his ideas of how you can better manage the process that starts with finding new sales leads and ends with closing business.

Please note that this month we are at our normal location - DLA Piper in Palo Alto. NEXT MONTH we move, but those details will follow in a future post.

Miller's presentation is targeted to anyone responsible for driving revenue - lead generation, online marketing, or demand generation managers, and Directors and VP of sales or marketing. His ideas apply to complex business-to-business sales.

The change in social media has changed the relationship between you and your potential customers. In response, you need to "transform" the way sales and marketing interact to close business. When I spoke to him, he listed four key ideas that he will discuss next week.

1. Focus on the entire revenue cycle, not just the "top of the funnel," meaning lead generation.

2. Don't contact a lead before its time. Prospects now have a lot of information they can get on their own, and don't need you to contact them until they require help to move forward. For example, most companies in this category don't list their prices on their web sites, hoping that potential customers will get interested first and then ask. This is pointless from Miller's perspective - if you don't list your prices, people will find them a different way.

3. Make sure the process keeps moving - don't let it sit idle. Don't dump a bunch of leads in a sales reps lap and let them turn cold.

4. Understand your buyer's online behavior. Use web measurement tools to see what interests specific buyers, what pages they look at. Or, their "online body language."

So come to the next Marketing SIG meeting - online body language might not be as enjoyable as the old fashioned kind, but could be much more profitable.


Mark Helfen is a freelance writer, journalist, and marketing consultant. He can be reached at:



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