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How do you think B2B buyer attitudes have shifted in the post pandemic period?

Typically when an organisation approaches a B2B sales opportunity, both the buyer and seller are in an office environment.

As this is no longer the case, sales teams need to put a lot more effort into understanding how you build a connection with a buyer that you can’t see, and who may not be in an office environment at all. You need to have tactics that enable you to create a connection with your customer, by building an online community that fosters connection.

Over the past few years, Sage has been shifting our budget away from in-person events, looking at how we can support potential customers who are working from home. We have spent more time within digital product environments, offering virtual help and support to customers remotely who can no longer visit us for training classes or meet with their Account Manager.

What role in customer acquisition do you think human beings will play in a journey which is increasingly digital?

We spent a lot of time in 2021 thinking about the customers we want to acquire, and what their needs are. This is a fundamental marketing strategy, but one that we hadn’t revisited for a couple of years.

While our marketing & sales journey is increasingly digital, not every part of the buying journey can or should be done through automation or bots. We meet our customers’ needs best when we retain the human touch, ensuring they have the most relevant material and experience as soon as they engage with our brand. The customer needs to know there is always someone available for discussion, if they need it.

I listen to customer calls in our support centre to see what sort of discussions are happening and where the pain points are. It’s essential to have that human insight before you work on the digital journey. You have to understand the customer’s challenges and see your offering from their perspective, and the best way to achieve that is by listening.

“You have to understand the customer’s challenges and see your offering from their perspective, and the best way to achieve that is by listening”.

“We use an automated process that responds to certain scores and triggers, that supports the sales team and sends them things they could talk about”.

Do you track digital activity before people buy, or before you sell to them over the phone?

We leverage technology that tracks digital activity within global and regional privacy and governance guidelines to enable the most relevant consumer experience. For instance, we might be able to see that a company is interested in a certain product or service, and then rather than manually emailing them, we use an automated process that responds and serves suitable content within their digital experience.

That sort of process has heightened over the past couple of years because it’s been harder to get out and connect in person. So much of sales happens over the phone or via chat, or even through communities. We do anything we can as marketers to give really contractional or intent information, looking at even more specifics and indicators that might be stronger. We look to understand if they’re visiting on the website, and whether they’re filling out forms or downloading material. From there we are trying to connect data sources so we know what people are interested in, and we can be more relevant.

Sage is the global market leader for technology that helps small and medium businesses to manage their finances, operations and people. With 13,000 employees globally, the company is focused on delivering cloud-based services that make a difference to communities.

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