Kevin O’Malley, the vice president of marketing at SalesLoft, was a recent guest on our podcast, B2B Nation. In this episode, we discussed:
  • Some of the biggest challenges facing B2B sales teams
  • What’s changed with the “modern buyer”
  • Ways salespeople can temper automation with a personal, human approach
  • How sales reps use email analytics to close deals
Below are some of the highlights from our conversation.*

The biggest challenge for B2B sales teams is catching up with the modern buyer.

“The challenges that B2B sales teams are having right now are centered around modernizing their business. There’s all this new technology and new data coming into the sales organization. You also have a lot of new sales positions that didn’t exist before, such as ‘sales engineers.’ The challenge right now is trying to get all these new functions working together to [catch up with] the modern buyer, who is doing the research ahead of time and coming into sales conversations with at least some of their mind made up.”

‘In-market’ buyers vs. casual prospects. 

“There are buyers who I call ‘in market.’ They are highly-educated and already using software. They come in with a lot of great questions and expectations, due to their experience. You have other buyers who are not in market yet, and you have to reach them in a very different way. You need to educate them in a way that pulls them into the category, into the market. The challenge there is to show them the problem you’re trying to address and help them understand how your solution can solve the problem. You really have to decide what type of buyer you want to go after and build your strategy accordingly.”

Balance automation with a human touch. 

“At its core, sales is transferring the belief in what you’re selling to another person. There are so many new elements and tools for sales today. The technology being used in modern sales, the analytical support, the predictive signals are useful tools, but ultimately B2B is about the person. It’s about the interaction of transferring that belief you have as a salesman to your customer. Personalization really comes through when you’re being sincere, honest, and authentic. It allows you to communicate with prospects in ways they prefer. And in return, you get three times the response rate. The results show that personalizing messages yields higher returns.”

Email analytics tell you if and how your messages are received. 

“Email analytics are most useful for understanding if [and how] your message is received. Whether or not someone clicks on your message is where traditional marketing automation ends. Personalization goes beyond that. You want to really be able to track replies. I’m not as interested in content. Of course, I love content and the ability to educate people, but what you really want is the reply. You want to get both positive and negative reactions to your offer. Reply rates help you understand if you’re being effective with your message or not. Using this information, you can discern what’s working and what’s not. That’s really powerful when you can show the reply rate across all of your emails and adapt quickly to the results. Using data to improve upon your processes is key.”


Want to hear more? You can catch Kevin later this month at the 2016 CEB Sales and Marketing Summit. Click here to get tickets or register a group.

B2B Nation is a podcast for B2B sales and marketing professionals, featuring expert opinions and advice on the most important topics in the industry. Check out our other episodes on iTunes, or follow us on Twitter: @Technology_Adv. ___
*Some excerpts have been paraphrased to enhance readability.