Last week, I posted Part 1 of my book review of Steven Wood’s Digital Body Language book.¬† It covered how the landscape of B2B, complex sales, and marketing has changed because of rapid developments in the Online world, and what the Digital Body Language (DBL) concept is.
In this post, I’ll wrap up by covering some of the benefits you can get if you learn to observe and leverage DBL, as well as some of the author’s ideas about the future of sales and marketing as marketers start to adopt the DBL approaches.
If you understand DBL, and can leverage the data points it provides, you’ll be in a much better position to effectively nurture early and middle stage leads.¬† This is crucial since the majority of leads in your database are probably in these two stages.¬† We at FutureNow spend lot of time working with clients to optimize their sites for early and middle stage buyers, so this was great to read.¬† We also encourage B2B marketers to design marketing efforts intended to “graduate” their prospects from one stage of their buying process to the next.
In addition to more effective lead nurturing, DBL allows for much more accurate lead scoring, which is of huge value to an organization.¬† Most B2B sales and marketing teams seem to only have 2 lead scores: “hot” and “disqualified.”¬† The lead is either worth calling on the phone, or they’re thrown away.¬† This obviously can lead to frustration on both sides of the Sales/Marketing fence.¬† By tracking and monitoring DBL, you have a lot more data to use in scoring leads so Sales knows which ones are “hot,” and which ones simply aren’t ready to buy and can be nurtured.
Woods uses example lead categories of:
1.¬†¬† ¬†Inquiries – usually some contact information captured online
2.¬†¬† ¬†Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) – Marketing has vetted as qualified for Sales
3.¬†¬† ¬†Sales Accepted Leads (SALs) – Sales agrees to follow up with the leads
4.¬†¬† ¬†Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) – Sales agrees the leads are qualified to be sold to
5.¬†¬† ¬†and Deals – closed business
The above categories can set an organization up for a very disciplined, data-driven approach to their prospect pipeline.
DBL is also a tool that helps teams get away from the usually-broken “lead source” model. Woods eloquently argues against the traditional model on page 185:
…the prospective buyer is not suddenly “driven” to make a purchase because of a well-crafted marketing campaign or elegantly worded collateral documents.¬† Rather, a purchase is the culmination of a well-choreographed series of messaging, campaigns, and collateral that–over time–collectively guide the prospective buyer through education and discovery processes that are driven by their own internal interests and business goals.
Best of all, DBL allows for a new, improved way of measuring marketing performance. We all know that measuring marketing effectiveness at driving revenue (as opposed to just leads) is challenging, even with all the fancy data we have at our fingertips these days.¬† This, I think, contributes to the fact that CMOs have some of the shortest tenures in all of the corporate world.
DBL can be used to understand, track, and prove “the conversion of prospects from one phase of their buying process to the next.”¬† If a nurture marketer’s goal is simply to find prospects and convert them over time through a succession of buying stages, it becomes much easier to plan campaigns, segment the data, and make wise marketing investments.
Given that I’m an analyst, one of my favorite parts of the book was Chapter 10 where the author starts to talk about a new breed of “Analytical Marketer:”
Marketers are beginning to capture, store, and process unprecedented volumes of data and will need people with management capabilities and skills to model, prototype, and design processes.
Woods goes on to argue that organizations must change to meet the demands of DBL: executives must understand why DBL is a worthy investment, skill sets have to evolve or be brought in, data cleansing must be a priority for IT and analysts, and marketing organizations have to become more process-driven instead of relying heavily on “creativity for creativity’s sake.”
In the end, though, the author ties it all back to that core concept of realigning to the buyer’s buying process–using DBL to understand their needs, and providing the marketing that will help them move themselves through the buying stages at their own pace.¬† And, being there top-of-mind when they decide they’re ready to raise their hands and ask to be sold to.
Finally, those of you in Early Stage who perhaps aren’t persuaded to buy the book could visit the Digital Body Language blog to learn more.¬† I’m sure Steven would be happy to nurture you for as long as you need