Voice is now the critical component to 2021 B2B Marketing & Sales

2021 looks set to be a year of continued change for b2b marketing and sales. Digital marketing, driven by the ‘digital now’ culture we all as consumers now adhere to as commonplace in society, has continued to evolve at staggering rates of sophistication and adoption through this ‘pandemic period’. B2B buyers are expecting the same personalised experience they have become used to in their consumer worlds.

B2B’s digital footprint can create ‘leaks’ in the sales funnel

Digital technologies continue to influence the b2b marketing and sales arena in many ways:

• They provide the b2b buyer with levels of knowledge and research material than was previously thought possible even 2 years ago.

• AI powered automation technologies now provide extraordinary levels of personalisation which not only enhance your customer and prospect experience – but they have also become so commonplace that the b2b buyer is now expecting nothing less in their experience of your product or service.

• They can push your brand and core selling messages out rapidly to your target audience.

• Personalised Content marketing provides one of the most effective ways of influencing the entire b2b purchasing cycle.

• Digital marketing has enabled Account Based Marketing techniques and approaches to more or less become the standard b2b marketing template for many organisations.

However, with so much emphasis being placed on b2b digital marketing (and the complexities and challenges it can bring) the scope for error in its delivery increases. Leaks in the sales funnel can appear as a result, and sole reliance on digital channels can rapidly result in prospect alienation.

In 2021 the b2b sales funnel (link to funnel mindset blog here) therefore still demands an intrinsically detailed and heavily personalised delivery across ALL channels and that includes Voice, or, if you want to assign an ‘old school’ terminology to it – ‘telemarketing’ (more on this later…).

Voice is back and more important than ever

Voice as a channel is now important once again (although it’s strategic importance in b2b has never gone away) because the events of 2020 have amplified the need for humans to once again communicate with one another.

The pandemic has brought pain and misery to many but has also brought back our belief in humanity and the need and desire to talk to one another albeit family, friends, business colleagues AND your b2b sales prospects.

B2B sales prospects should be seen no differently to any other human, not just because or as a result of this period of our lives, but indeed in general.  They want to talk to other humans.  It is human instinct that humans want to talk to other humans.

Digital marketing is truly extraordinary and millennial b2b marketers who have grown up in this digital era are right to continue to push its importance in their b2b strategies.  But that can never be at the expense of eliminating human voice and the power it brings or can bring to your 2021 b2b sales funnel.

It is therefore mission critical that, now,  more than ever you start to put Voice fully back in your b2b marketing mix or start to evolve the way in which you are already delivering it to ensure it meets the demands of the modern day b2b buyer.

21st Century Voice + Cadencing Automation = b2b buyers’ expectation

Given, however, the brand expectation raised by digital channels, Voice now has little room for failure in its delivery…right first time is the mindset with 21st century voice.

This is amplified by the b2b buyer’s high expectation of personalisation and 121 nurture in whatever channel they encompass.   In voice delivery this could be as simple as why Inside Sales agents don’t reference the last call they had with a prospect or understand what content that prospect has been reading or clicking on since the last time they spoke (technology now provides access to this).

The b2b prospect expects you to know these things, and when you don’t deliver on them the personalised expectation starts to fall away and your voice strategy starts to erode your entire customer experience, creating large cracks in your funnel…cracks which you may not be able to seal up again for some time.

According to McKinsey’s research, B2B buyers will frequently use six distinctive interaction channels throughout their customer buying journey, and nearly 65 percent of buyers will walk away from it being frustrated by inconsistent experiences before they reach out to a company for more details.

Maybe this is why ‘telemarketing’ has such a bad reputation in the b2b marketing mix…organisations for the best part understand and appreciate its importance, but its delivery keeps letting them down and every time it does they find themselves in a constant state of review and strategy realignment.

The good news is that in 2021, technology and proven processes now allow you to keep much tighter control of your Voice strategy within your inside sales teams.

Sales enablement tools now exist that combine highly sophisticated automated 121 email and video cadencing to work in parallel with your voice strategy and enable you to automate and ‘fill the follow-up gaps’ sometimes left by inside sales reps, improving the personalisation expectation of your b2b prospects.

What makes an effective voice strategy in 2021?

So, what combination of traditional and 21st century voice techniques are of most strategic importance for your inside sales team in 2021 to both match the expectations of the b2b prospect and accelerate your growth?  Below are some of the key considerations:

Sales Proposition – Your ‘selling’ proposition is king to effective voice delivery.  If it does not pack the punch in the first 25 seconds, then you run the risk of losing the decision-maker you are talking to. Very often sales propositions get confused with the brand message.  The sales proposition must be clear, concise and capable of translating effectively across both inside and field sales.  It is worthy of investment and time so do not ignore it.

Personalised delivery – In inside sales, it is not so much about what the representative says, but how they say it. Prospects do not just listen to the content of the pitch, but also to tone, volume, and pace. In fact, statistics from Sandler Sales Training show that as much as 38% of communication relies on the speaker’s tonality, while a mere 7% favoured content.  Inside sales reps should know how to mirror the prospect’s tone and style of talking so that the customers can identify with them.

Data strategy and Resource Alignment – Your Voice effort must be fully aligned to an effective and robust data strategy.  The Inside Sales Reps should be aligned to sectors and/or product types so that they become ‘specialised experts’ who can provide a more thorough and insightful prospect experience.

Quality of Inside Sales Reps – do not settle for second best…put time and energy and investment into the recruitment of quality and talented people and put them at the forefront of strategic importance.

Invest in your people – Maintaining a low attrition rate of Inside Sales Reps is critical to ensuring you can deliver and sustain TRUE 121 nurture.  Learning and Development should be top of your agenda to ensure your people feel they are being continuously developed.

Technology – Given everything we’ve discussed on the importance of personalisation in the b2b buying journey you absolutely must ensure you have the right Inside Sales Tech Stack to connect all the automated touchpoints in your prospects buying journey.  If you do not your competitors may will be optimising the gaps in your approach.

Artificial Intelligence – Optimising AI technologies to help you rapidly find your Inside Sales productivity and efficiency gaps resulting in more accurate and precise reporting that drives forward your entire sales effort.

How we can help…

Ampli delivers 21st century Voice strategies.  We understand in intrinsic detail all aspects of the b2b sales funnel and the critical components required to deliver Voice in 2021.

Our unique ‘Ampli M.O’  process leverages the best in human and artificial intelligence and can be accessed through output driven consultancy modules or we can provide end to end outsourcing services to act as an accelerator to enable you to achieve your optimal growth potential.

Within B2B marketplaces, the companies who successfully connect awareness, digital and voice marketing will be the ones who prevail the fastest in 2021 and thrive within the expected turbulence of the recession.

Get in touch today.