Translating Online Behavior into Personalized Conversations

We recommend reading Capturing Your Buyers’ Most Meaningful Online Behavior before starting this piece.

Capturing the most important online behavior is only half the battle. The ability (or inability) to quickly translate a prospect’s needs into a solution can make or break an opportunity and with the patience for bad customer experiences running thin, there is no room for error. Your sales team must be able to take data and turn it into real, actionable insight that informs conversations. But that skill doesn’t come overnight and so training your reps what to do with data is equally as important as the data itself.

Your sales reps need understand what the important datasets are. They must be able to quickly sort and choose which interactions to leverage in their conversations. To do this, they need to interpret information from two sources: content consumption and progressive profiling answers. If you’re not familiar with the concept of progressive profiling, you can learn more about it in part one of this series. Let’s break down these two categories.

Understanding What the Prospect Has and Hasn’t Read

The warmer the lead, the more overwhelming it can be to find insights within a prospect’s behavior. How do you know what to leverage when faced with dozens of interaction points? Start with content. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Which content pieces has the lead engaged with?
  • Are there any pieces that have been read more than once?
  • Which content pieces have been forwarded to colleagues?
  • Are multiple people from the same account looking at the same content or different content?
  • Does the substance of the content the lead is engaging with correspond to the answers provided in progressive profiling questions?

A prospect’s content journey is a treasure trove of information. They have moved through the funnel at their own pace, self-selecting what has been the most valuable information to them and thus providing a lens into their most painful problem areas. Use that to your advantage.

There is one big caveat to this approach. If you’re going to leverage the content the lead has consumed, you must be familiar with the content pieces themselves.

It’s very easy to get lazy and make a call that starts with “Hey! I saw you downloaded this piece of content, let’s talk.” But all that does is create a jarring experience that doesn’t match the prospect’s expectations. The prospect wants to hear that you understand their challenges and that you can extend the conversation beyond a piece of content and into something meaningful.

Let’s look at an example. You receive an alert that John Doe has become a qualified lead. When looking at John Doe’s lead record, you see that he’s had five interactions with content and all of them have been around organizational alignment. You do some external research and find out that his company has been going through an acquisition. You, a well-trained sales rep, can put the pieces together and assume that John Doe needs your help bringing disparate processes together. That immediately sets the stage for a meaningful conversation around the challenges associated with acquisitions and provides an opportunity for you to share proof that you’ve solved this challenge with other companies.

Using the Answers Provided in Progressive Profiling Forms

The next layer of information to consider is the responses a prospect has given to progressive profiling questions. This can be a jackpot of information, especially for account-based selling. Your progressive profiling forms are collecting highly personal information about a prospect. They’re asking for basic demographic data and ideally, they’re also capturing information about main pain points, challenges, and intent to buy. That’s where the good stuff lives.

While you may have a qualified lead that has read dozens of content pieces, if their answers indicate they have no intent to buy, you’ll probably consider de-prioritizing follow up with that lead. Conversely, if a qualified lead comes in and has only consumed four pieces, but has indicated they are ready to buy, you’ll want to call them right away.

Now let’s consider looking at the progressive profiling responses in conjunction with a prospect’s content consumption. Together, these two sets of data allow you to judge if a prospect’s behavior matches up with their level of self-awareness, thus indicating if this will be easy to work, or if alignment across the buying committee will become a challenge. You can uncover this type of information by asking yourself questions like:

  • How is the lead answering progressive profiling questions?
  • Do the lead’s answers align with the theme of content they are consuming?
  • Do the answers to demographic questions correspond with outside research?
  • Is everyone from a single account selecting the same answers?

This level of insight empowers reps to have organic, meaningful conversations. It replaces the need for hours and hours of research, mitigates the threat to the customer experience, and provides opportunity for sales to have better quality conversations sooner.

Who Owns the Process?

At the end of the day, sales is responsible for continuing to nurture a lead post-qualification. But marketing owns sales enablement, and it’s their responsibility to help that process flow smoothly with effective resources and tools. Likewise, it’s sales’ responsibility to actually use the resources and tools marketing provides.

Sales enablement is much more than providing product sheets and demos. Sales enablement is making it easier for sales to find the information they need to have a meaningful conversation with a lead.

The good news is that the most effective sales enablement tactics can be automated. For example, if sales is relying on tools like Salesloft to send follow-up emails, marketing can help craft emails that are specific to the pain points a prospect has given in progressive profiling questions. All a salesperson has to do is select qualification criteria (pain point, challenge, stage in buying process, etc.) and the appropriate email is available to send.

The key to success is recognizing that this process has no end. You will need to circle back with reps frequently and provide immersive, in-the-moment training to BDRs and reps alike to help them synthesize information beyond the theoretical training provided. Likewise, you’ll need to provide real feedback to marketing to share what is and isn’t working. Change has no end, so preparing for long-term adoption well greatly improve your chance of success. To learn more about managing change successfully we recommend reading the piece “How to Successfully Manage Change in Your Organization.”

Learning to leverage the information a prospect has already provided to you will transform your sales and marketing functions. You will become more efficient, have more productive conversations, and better qualify leads, all while improving the relationship between sales and marketing. The end result is an improved lead-to-revenue conversion rate and growth goals that are achieved time and time again.

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