For a long time, the folks that sell inbound marketing and “social selling” (which they are now struggling to differentiate from what they are calling “social marketing,” a distinction without a difference) have used CEB’s research that buyers are 57 percent into their buying process before they engage a salesperson to suggest that:
- Cold calling is dead.
- A salesperson can create no value before the point the buyer decides to engage.
- A salesperson’s only hope of being found when a buyer reaches that 57 percent mark is developing their personal brand on social media.
- A salesperson’s only chance of being relevant is by having content that serves the buyer when they decide to engage in exploring change.
- One should never interrupt the buyer, but rather one should serve the buyer, by helping them once they engage.
CEB does not share this statistic to make any of the above points. Quite to the contrary, the point that they make with this statistic is that you should try to command as much of your dream client’s mindshare as they move down this path—especially when you can initiate the change by coming in at 0 percent!
Because the buyer is doing a lot of work to understand and frame their problem, meet with people on their team, and explore some of their options before they proactively reach out to a salesperson, that isn’t an excuse to passively wait for your prospective client to reach out to you.
But please don’t take my word for any of this. Listen here as I ask Brent Adamson (CEB, now Gartner) to explain this in his own words—and act accordingly.