Nov 27th, 2023

Charting a new go-to-market course: upmarket intelligence from Lumen5 [VIDEO]

Trading product-led sales for enterprise sales comes with quite the to-do list.

You have to make sure you have the right team, tools, and tactics in place. But you also need to understand what the modern buyer journey looks like for Fortune 500 companies.

We talked about that and much more with Pius Chan, Vice President of Revenue at Lumen5, in our recent event: Moving upmarket: navigating the marketing-led buyer’s journey.

Here are three of the top takeaways from that conversation, including:

  • Why enterprise sales has moved from sales-led to buyer-driven
  • How the dark funnel is a key component of the buyer journey
  • What sets the best sales teams apart

1. Don’t confuse enterprise for analog

In a product-led world, it’s easy to assume “enterprise sales” means “traditional sales.”

And while it’s true that the enterprise sales process follows a more conventional framework than product-led sales, it doesn’t mean you can pull from an outdated playbook.

“We've mapped it out where most likely the journey for a customer starts on social media,” Pius said. “They first hear about us on LinkedIn or they see us on LinkedIn. Then they talk about us, and word of mouth is huge for how buyers buy.”
What it means for go-to-market teams: Today’s buyers rely on friends and peers to source solutions. Enterprise customers are no different. You need the right team in place to break into enterprise deals, but hiring sales folks won’t magically make buyers want to hop on a demo call. You have to generate demand and uncover opportunities by engaging buyers where they are.

The buyer journey isn’t linear. Depending on your ideal customer profile (ICP), it zigs and zags across social channels, community forums, and other digital watering holes.

Your job is to stay top of mind for prospective buyers and engage them on their channels of choice.

“People don't want to talk to salespeople,” Pius said. “They want to talk to their peers about what's happening out there.”

2. Focus on your dark funnel

SEO and paid advertising are useful for building brand awareness and generating leads, but they’re not tailored for enterprise buyers.

Most CEOs aren’t Googling your brand or clicking on gift-cards-for-meetings pop-ups.

More often than not, it’s referrals from trusted peers that kick off enterprise interest. And those are happening in the dark funnel (aka hard-to-see digital activity).

“Different companies might have different areas that their ICP goes to, but ours we found were mostly through word of mouth on LinkedIn because our buyers were the executive buyers: CMOs, VPs of marketing, directors of marketing….,” Pius said.
What it means for go-to-market teams: You want to know what your buyers are saying and doing across digital channels, but the dark funnel obscures this. Invest in technologies that will help you identify and track activity in dark-funnel channels. This will help you spot outbound opportunities and uncover ways to influence buyer behavior.

Remember that digital natives are now running the boardroom. Cold calls may work if you’re selling to a certain demographic, but it pays to meet buyers on their terms.

“How Baby boomers like to buy is very different from how Gen X likes to buy and how Millennials like to buy,” Pius said. “We're seeing a lot of Millennials and Gen Z in positions of buying power now…. So how your ICP chooses to buy is how you need to market to them.”

3. Be more of a strategic consultant than a seller

Odds are buyers have a handle on their next move before they even interact with one of your sales reps.

“Something like 85% of buyers who first hit your sales team, they already know,” Pius said. “They've already made a decision. And what they want is that customization of your solution to their problem. So your sales team now doesn't need to be a sales team. They need to be more strategic consultants.”
What it means for go-to-market teams: Sales reps have to get surgical to close enterprise deals. Spray-and-pray messaging, generic discovery calls, one-size-fits-all demos—they won’t cut it. To seal the deal, reps need key context into who buyers are, what they care about, and the best ways to engage them.

Product usage data is a useful tool for understanding what end users are searching for—and how that can be translated into business value for the organization—but don’t confuse product data with enterprise-ready insights.

How you sell product users is very different from how you sell product buyers.

It’s also important to remember that enterprise deals are rarely one-on-one propositions. Reps generally have to sell groups of people, not individual buyers.

“You're not selling to one person anymore,” Pius said. “You're selling to an entire committee of buyers who have no interest in the solution. They just want to see dollar value or they want to see what the value is to their company.”

Data makes all the difference for enterprise deals. The trick is getting it into the hands of the teams that can use it.

Who to approach, where and when to approach them, and how—those insights are yours to use or lose.

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