Sales Executive Corner

It’s Time for B2B Sellers to Lean into the Science of Selling

By Mary Shea, VP, Global Innovation Evangelist at Outreach; Matt Flug, Evangelist at Outreach; and Kerry Cunningham, Head of 6sense Research

Summary: The Outreach and 6sense native integration provides customers with access to 6sense’s rich insights, including engagement data, heat map visualizations, and intent signals, without leaving the Outreach platform.

A new buy side survey conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Outreach revealed that 93% of millennials make business purchase decisions with their own (55%) or a shared (38%) budget.1 The “heads down” generation has officially taken its seat at the decision-making table. Regardless of where the generational power sits, B2B buyer preferences and purchasing behaviors have dramatically changed over the last several years.

The Buying Cycle is Becoming Longer, More Complex

The in-person meeting, once a staple in every seller’s arsenal, is now the third most preferred buyer interaction channel — after the virtual meeting and phone conversation. In addition to preferences for digital and remote channels, today’s buying process is more complicated and protracted. According to Forrester’s report, Buyer Insights: All Buyers — Personal Vs. Self Guided Interactions , the average number of interactions in the buying cycle increased from 17 in 2019, to 27 in 2021, while 75% of respondents in our Forrester Consulting study said the average buying cycle increased in time over the last 24 months.2

More than one-third of buyer respondents said they preferred to interact on their own in the Discover and Explore phases of the buying cycle while just under a quarter said they wanted to self-educate during the Buy phase.3 With less direct access to buyers, sellers must mine digital breadcrumbs to gain insights about their top accounts. Eighty percent of respondents said when searching for a new product or solution, they prefer to interact with marketing content such as social assets, infographics, social tiles, and social videos. Before accepting a remote or in person sales meeting 60% of respondents said they first visit a supplier’s website.4

Buyers Anonymously Conduct Research at All Stages of Their Buying Journey

They visit product pages, download digital marketing content, peruse case studies, and inevitably return to the websites that best meet their needs when it’s time to make a buying decision. When sellers gain access to this type of behavioral data, they can anticipate which potential buyers are getting closer to making a decision and be confident they are reaching out with the right messaging at the right time.

To level the playing field for their sellers, sales leaders must invest in marketing and sales technologies with embedded automation and artificial intelligence (AI). Technologies that can automatically capture and analyze buyer behavioral and sentiment data gathered across the entire buying journey and turn that data into actionable insights. In Salesforce’s recent State of Sales Survey, 97% of sales leader respondents said adopting AI tools brought significant, moderate, or minor improvements in understanding of customer needs, forecasting, and lead and rep prioritization when using AI.

B2B buyers frequently visit a supplier’s website or attend a webinar before they are linked to an actual sales opportunity. The data gathered from those digital interactions are vital to understanding a buyer’s interests and their propensity to buy. The free flow of this information combined with sales insights between all revenue stakeholders helps sellers gauge intent, prioritize accounts, and select content to share.

In a recent Gartner report, Dan Gottlieb predicted that “by 2025 60% of B2B sales organizations will transition from experience- and intuition-based selling to data-driven selling”.5 But we believe leading sales organizations will transition sooner. Sellers who lean into insights-driven selling today will deliver better buyer experiences and close more deals faster. These are a few of the many reasons we are excited about our new partnership with top ABM platform provider 6sense.

Build Trust with Actionable Intent Data

6sense leverages AI to gauge buyers’ intent and arms sellers with the information necessary to build trust and engage confidently. 6sense provides daily account and opportunity prioritization, highlighting potential opportunities that have displayed signals indicating they are in-market and likely to make a purchase in the near term. As the size and complexity of buying groups continue to grow, lighting up the “Dark Funnel” of buying signals, such as third-party intent, anonymous web traffic, and form-fill leads becomes an increasingly vital way to gauge buying group intent.6 6sense Persona Maps allow reps to prioritize important contacts and see the engagement of both known and anonymous members of the buying group.

For all that Outreach and 6sense individually offer customers, this interconnected offering is even more powerful. Sellers save time by working from a single pane of glass, marketers and sellers are better aligned, messaging stays on brand, and both marketers and sellers have visibility into the same data — eliminating the need for multiple communication cycles. Most important, lost “Dark Funnel” opportunities are visible within the Outreach platform, leading to a more robust and viable pipeline. Reps will see 6sense buyer intent insights in their Outreach task list and can assign Outreach Sequences to 6sense personas directly in the Outreach platform.

“For a business of our size, we are focused on improving our sales reps’ efficiencies and capabilities at scale. This new integration allows all of our reps to see buyer intent insights and easily personalize their engagement through Outreach.” Annabel Custer, demand generation manager at Windstream Enterprises

The Outreach and 6sense native integration provides customers with access to 6sense’s rich insights, including engagement data, heat map visualizations, and intent signals, without leaving the Outreach platform. Data is automatically embedded into sellers’ Outreach workflows so every seller is armed with the right insights as they engage with their buy side contacts.

To delve deeper into the details of this partnership and the benefits it can bring to your organization, get our free ebook: 6 Ways to Turn Buyer Insights Into Revenue with the Outreach and 6sense Integration.

Webinar: Learn how to turn buyer insights into revenue with Outreach + 6sense

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Endnotes

1 Source: A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Outreach, April 2022. Base: 212 B2B directors + that influence purchasing decisions across North America and UK organizations in various industries

2 Source: A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Outreach, April 2022. Base: 212 B2B directors + that influence purchasing decisions across North America and UK organizations in various industries

3 The “discover” and “explore” phases refer to a Forrester Research framework detailing the B2B buying journey. The “discover” phase is defined as the point in the journey where buyers “encounter products, brands, or services that will meet a fundamental need for comfort, connection, variety, or uniqueness”. The “explore” phase is defined as the point in the journey where buyers “Spend time investigating the options available that will meet your needs. In the explore phase you compare prices, research locations, assess services, and make other value considerations”.

4 Source: A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Outreach, April 2022. Base: 212 B2B directors + that influence purchasing decisions across North America and UK organizations in various industries

5 Gartner report “4 Levers to Boost SDR Pipeline Generation”, Dan Gottlieb, April 22, 2021. (https://www.gartner.com/docume...

6Source: A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Outreach, April 2022. Base: 212 B2B directors + that influence purchasing decisions across North America and UK organizations in various industries