Sellers don’t close deals, only buyers can. But let’s broaden “buyers” to include stakeholders, so we don’t sound like idiots for suggesting that 1 or 2 champions will get deals done; it’s many.
Today, according to Gartner, “An average of 11 individual stakeholders are involved in a B2B purchase; that number can occasionally flex up to nearly 20.” Exclude someone with influence (negative or positive) from your engagement strategy and you risk delaying, or even losing, the deal.
Think of it like this anamorphic art piece by Matthieu Robert-Ortis: from one perspective you see an elephant, but change viewpoints and you see two giraffes. Similarly, each stakeholder sees their problem, solution, and your deal differently. This is important for understanding your buyers’ needs and creating presale content for them. Technology can help.
1. Using Tech to Find Stakeholders
The first step is finding people. The status quo for mapping an account is to hunt folks down manually. Don’t think that just asking your champion, even multiple times, is all you need to do. Anyone in sales knows that’s heresy.
Yes, you can use technology. And the most effective use cases for leveraging technology — and really I think this applies to any discipline — are those in which the people required to do something (your champions) are enabled to do it on their own and with minimal effort. Viral is the word that comes to mind.
2. Automating Product Demos to Learn About Stakeholders
How do you enable champions to easily do the work of uncovering stakeholders for you and learning about them? Behold, the Product Demo — The Holy Grail of Presale Content. This is where buyer expectations for a better experience should overlap with technology.
Product demos from the Presales team are one of the most important interactions buyers have with vendors (followed by case studies, according to Gartner).
They matter to sellers too. Demos are where you meet your champion (along with the first round of stakeholders – it may just be 1 or 2 to start), ask questions about their organization, and fine-tune your strategy for working with them.
But not every demo must be delivered live. And no buyer wants every stage of learning to be forced onto their calendars.
Would it surprise you to know that 67% of prospects have to wait a week and 17% wait two weeks or for demos to be delivered? Or that for 1 in 5 organizations, over 50% of demos delivered, are unqualified? And that’s just accounting for the first round of live demos with the initial champion. As stakeholders trickle into emails and meeting invites, this excruciating friction repeats itself, sometimes pushing progress out 3-4 months.
That’s a lot of waste. It also means you’re not closing as many deals as you could, or as fast as you need to. Enter the interactive video demo (and I haven’t forgotten about that word “viral”).
3. Where Interactive Video Demos Fit and How They Enable Intra-Viral Sharing
An interactive video demo should mimic a really effective Presales rep. There should be an intro video of 30 to 40 seconds followed by a series of short questions. The questions should be tailored to uncover priorities (features, benefits, use cases, etc) in order of relevancy. Then, they’d ideally see a personalized video demo based on their selections and supported by additional documentation. And if it added value, wouldn’t it be great if they could share it with a click for as many colleagues as they want to go through the same experience, on their own time and at their own pace.
The beauty of this is that each demo would be automatically tailored to each individual, and any views, shares, selections, etc would report back to the rep who sent it. And all before you have your first live meeting. Imagine that first meeting feeling a lot more like your current 4th or 5th meetings. And happening within a week, rather than after 3-4 months.
Using a conventional approach, you probably do spend weeks or months working with your champion in those initial convo’s while missing out on other key stakeholders. You don’t have that kind of time to waste!
Gartner reported a couple years ago that buyers spend less than 17% of their buying time in direct contact with all vendors. We’ve mentioned this figure countless times before. So if there are 5 vendors, you get 3% of their time (17% / 5)? What’s happening in the remaining 87% while they’re not with vendors? They’re selling internally! And you’re missing it! The bulk of the selling is done by them and you’re not even around.
But you could be with an interactive, digital approach that’s always on and always selling.
4. Tracking it All to Get an Accurate Picture
You’ve been putting the work in, but how do you know if it’s effective? What it comes down to is you have to qualify prospects as early as possible in the cycle. Yes, Consensus does this automatically because we’re purpose built our platform to solve this very problem.
What Do The Numbers Say? Our research shows that if you can get a prospect to watch a demo before your first live appointment, they are 34% more likely to become an opportunity. If they watch and share the demo, they are 81% more likely to buy from you.
Interactive video demos become an exceptional way not just to scale presales but to qualify customers in order to have access to Presales resources and content. We call these Demo Qualified Leads (DQL) and operating with this approach can drop unqualified demos from over 50% to under 5%. By incorporating a buyer-centric model and observing their actions, you have evidence to decide their readiness.
The point here is are you using tech adequately enough to enable buyers to do the selling for you? Take a buyer enablement approach combined with tech to make the experience of buying easier and more pleasant, and to close more deals more often without breaking the bank.