For Virtual Ad Sales Success, You Need Engagement Analytics

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The digital transformation of sales is making it harder to see how your prospects are reacting: are they nodding their heads in agreement, nodding off to sleep—or not even there?

“As Sales Shifts To Digital, Buyer Interaction Visibility Drives Success.”

  • Enabling B2B Interaction Visibility In A Converging Sales Tech Landscape, Forrester

The Shift to Digital Buying and Selling is Inevitable

The shift over the last two years in sales to virtual meetings and emails felt like a sudden and abrupt change, but it was a trend that was already underway and the shutdowns of the pandemic just accelerated it for everyone. But it’s the new reality and will remain a fundamental part of our sales experience going forward – we’re not “going back” to the good ol’ days of everyone in the conference room for an uninterrupted hour of discussion.

Combine this shift to virtual with the shift in B2B buyer preferences towards self-service—43% of ALL B2B Buyers would prefer to complete the sales process without involving an actual sales rep—and the old way of doing business is going away forever.

NOT In the Room Where it Happens

One of the fundamental skills of a good salesperson is being able to read a room and get a feel for how people are reacting to their message. Are they engaged and attentive? Nodding their heads in agreement? Leaning back with their arms crossed and a skeptical look on their face?

But what happens when the salesperson can’t be in the room? Or even on a Zoom or Teams meeting where everyone has their camera on? In a world where more and more customers are asking for materials to be emailed so they can review on their own time, opportunities for a salesperson to “read the room” and “take the temperature” of their prospects are harder and harder to come by.

Instead of being able to gauge engagement through face-to-face interactions, salespeople send out emails with attachments and wait to see what happens—often hearing nothing but crickets as they wait for the prospect to reply or following up with more nagging emails hoping to trigger a response. And by relying on email as a primary means of connection, the time between contacts and responses is getting longer and longer, making it harder to keep the momentum of a sales cycle moving forward. All of this leads to prospects who are more disconnected from the sales process and with less understanding of your unique value proposition.

Not Knowing Hurts

This lack of insight into how engaged their prospects are has real-world business implications for salespeople:

  • Lower Conversion Rates: Without a clear idea of what content prospects are with, it’s harder to convert them from leads to qualified prospects. Are they really interested in your product or just browsing?  Did they watch that entire video explaining your value proposition, or just clicked on the link and left?
  • Longer Sales Cycles: This uncertainty and lack of insight results in longer sales cycles as salespeople need to make multiple attempts to contact and follow up with prospects to gauge interest and understand what their needs are and what they’re interested in from your offering.
  • Less Predictability: The lack of insight combined with longer sales cycles results in significantly poorer forecasting by sales management, making it harder for teams to predict and hit their sales targets.
  • Lower Win Rates: What really matters. Less insight into prospect engagement throughout the sales cycle results in lower win rates.

It’s Always Better to Know

Engagement analytics are the only way a salesperson can reliably get the kind of insight they need to really understand how engaged a prospect is and what they’re focused/interested in learning more about. It’s not enough just to know that a prospect opened your email or clicked on your link; you really need to know if they looked at your proposal for 5 seconds or 5 minutes. The difference between watching the video for 10 seconds versus watching it all the way to the end is the difference between an engaged prospect and a waste of a salesperson’s time.

So what exactly are Engagement Analytics and how are they different from what I already get from my email- or link-tracking program? Engagement Analytics tell you what content a prospect looked at and how much time they spent looking at each part of that video, sizzle or ad sales deck. This gives a salesperson insight into a whole set of valuable information:

  • What content the prospect spent the most time on, letting the salesperson better plan on what case studies, trailers, videos or one-sheets to follow up with or reference in their next email or meeting. This content may be what the prospect is most interested in, or what they have the most questions about. Either way, following up with more details or depth on that topic will move the conversation forward and lean into the prospects’ revealed preferences. 
  • What content the prospect spent the least time on, letting the salesperson see what isn’t relevant for the prospect or isn’t resonating with them as being valuable. The salesperson can then decide to either skip that topic with this prospect (if it’s optional or not relevant) or find another way to deliver that message that may resonate more with the prospect (if it’s part of the core value proposition).
  • What order the prospect is engaging with content, letting the salesperson see how the prospect is moving through the Customer Journey and what video, ad unit sample or case study might be most relevant next. 

Act on What You Know

“Such insight is crucial to driving growth as well as retention and expansion of existing customer relationships.”

  • Enabling B2B Interaction Visibility In A Converging Sales Tech Landscape, Forrester

With the insights from Engagement Analytics, salespeople and sales organizations can act on that information to demonstrably improve their sales processes and outcomes:

  • More Effective Follow-up: Knowing what content prospects are engaging with gives salespeople the information they need to more effectively plan both the timing and the content of their follow-ups. Knowing when a prospect engages with a video, presentation or one-sheet lets the salesperson know when to follow-up, and knowing what content they’re looking at lets the salesperson know what the most relevant follow-up content will be. More timely and relevant follow-ups consistently lead to shorter sales cycles and more predictable sales outcomes. 
  • More Effective Content: Knowing exactly what videos and presentations prospects are engaging with and which of those lead to wins lets sales marketing teams identify the most effective videos, rich content, case studies and presentations, and create more of them while eliminating the ones that don’t drive engagement and win rates. Seeing the revealed preferences of prospects and connecting that directly to wins and losses is the best metric of content quality and creates a virtuous cycle of consistently creating better presentations, videos, case studies and one-sheets.
  • More Reliable Sales Forecasting: Engagement Analytics give both salespeople and sales management real-time insight into how engaged prospects are and what content topics they’re most engaged with. This is a far more reliable foundation for building sales success forecasts and deal probability than relying solely on the salesperson’s point of view. As the prospect engages with additional content elements and moves through their customer journey, forecasts and probability estimates can be updated and refined to create the most reliable sales forecasts possible.

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