Demand Generation is Too Derivative
Anyone in sales is probably familiar with the notion that personalisation of your message is essential.
This has never been more true.
As sales leaders give this advice, they often follow with training on what outreach works best, which message structure seems to be the most successful and how products or services should be framed. The problem is that all of these managers are using the same playbook.
The process has become a commodity and consumers are bombarded by campaigns and processes that all look similar. Insightful blogs across the web including www.outreach.io , www.yesware.com and www.growbots all detail exact ways to drive demand generation. They are super helpful. But the problem here is that everyone is copying these great resources.
It’s become a commodity. Rather than follow step, the key is to empower your SDRs to be more intelligent, help them learn and be creative so they can devise an experience for customers that is new and refreshing.
Automation of Personalisation is Not Working
With the advances in demand generation and technology in general over the last decade, marketers have tried to create a formula for the personalisation of sales.
Although customer’s trends, likes and habits can be tracked, that doesn’t mean they can bemade into quantitative data. When you try to put personalisation into a formula, it will typically come across as highly impersonalised. The more your team tries to apply a one-size-fits-all approach to their demand generation process, the more it comes across as generic and planned.
Personalisation, despite the attempts, cannot be automated. So that begs the question, “what’s next?”.
Artificial Intelligence, Chatbots and Data Driven Demand Generation
Before demand generation began to take precedence, lead generation worked because people talked to people. Yet this step is time consuming and costs more in time than it gains in conversions. Many business processes are already becoming highly data driven, but with the sales process there are a lot of missing pieces.
Enter: artificial intelligence. With advances in the field, you can utilise tech to possess the ability to make “decisions” based on expansive, intricate algorithms. As a result AI and Chatbots use data to interact similar to the way a human would.
You need to start thinking about using chatbots / AI in certain areas of the demand generation process. The purpose here is to focus mundane efforts on certain activities. Then, invest all your time in building original approaches, with intelligent and creative individuals in your sales group. That will make a big difference.
It has to be the obvious next step.
In fact, chatbots can intelligently converse with and learn from your business’s different market segments. They have the ability to learn from past interactions and create highly personalised, successful simple sales outreach at high speeds. The caveat here is the level from SMB, medium to large enterprise. How I see it is that in a large enterprise chatbots can help serve and accelerate inbound marketing funnels, especially around white-papers, research (lower funnel type stuff).
The buyer doesn’t want to chat to a human but if the bot can present information that provides new context, similar to lead nurturing. Then they’ll free up time for sales development to focus on high level activity, and improve the engagement from just sending one-dimensional sales nurture emails.
This type of AI chatbot technology is already being utilised in other parts of business operations such as human resources and customer support. Chatbots will change 20 to 40% of what currently exists. That doesn’t mean sales will be overcome by AI alone, the successful models will encourage a working relationship between empowered SDR’s and advanced technology.
AI Will Empower Your SDRs
In the absence of a formulaic process, personalisation will be part of the outreach process again.
Formulas stepped in to save time and energy. In the future AI and chatbots will take the role that formulas now hold. In this way AI won’t take over sales, but will take over the part of sales that bogs them down.
For an example of what a successful merging of the two could look like, review the new technology in the recruiting space. Mya is a chatbot that recognises speech, evolves through conversations with clients and determines whether or not candidates are worth interviewing for hire.
The technology doesn’t do the hiring, but rather weeds out the candidates allowing businesses to spend their time engaging with the best prospects.
The ability for SDRs to work with AI to increase the quality of their interactions with consumers while decreasing their time performing impersonal tasks is essential. The best leaders will be those who create high value employees and upskilled teams capable of thinking creatively.
The Future of Demand Generation
All in all, you have to take your customers on a journey. Your SDRs should be working to guide your customers. Customers need to be taught and empowered — not just sold to. The manual approach helps you to target behaviours and feelings.
You can’t just hire a number of SDRs to blindly follow your process and use your tools or templates. No sales formula will work as well as an empowered sales team.
Train your SDRs to think outside of the box and take risks. Empower them to try new ideas and keep looking ahead to innovate their process. What new platform, strategy, or method can an SDR utilise to be successful, what’s the competitive edge they can get in every recurring 6 months..? You need to inspire creative decision making and thinking.
Your SDRs will become more confident and knowledgeable this way. This will also help the SDRs to become better at engaging with customers and tapping into the human element of the sales process.
You will be building communities with your customers rather than just selling them a product or service.
It means the evolution of a sales development needs to be similar to any industry — an upskilling is necessary as the whole sales and marketing funnel is continually being flipped on its head.
Focus on your personal connections, adding value, learning every single day, up-skilling and being different — being the guide to help them get what they want.