John Michael Montgomery sang it best: “Life’s a dance. You learn as you go. Sometimes you lead. Sometimes you follow.” In the world of business-to-business (B2B) marketing and selling, we probably need some help knowing when to lead and when to follow.
Our natural instinct as sellers is to lead. I remember my first sales manager telling me, “Run the process, or it will run you.” So, I’ve done my best to always take control and run the process. But sellers and marketers trying to lead in today’s B2B space aren’t serving us well anymore.
I mean, we make prospects fill out a form to get our content, but prospects often don’t want our content badly enough to fill out that form. So now, most of the traffic on our website is anonymous. And they probably aren’t opening our emails either. But because our process calls for a nurture track, we nurture them right up until they unsubscribe — never truly reaching them or giving them the content they really need.
We are dancing on our own in the dark. Which may sound empowering, but it’s not going to get us any business.
It’s time to recognize that B2B buyers today are in control of the information flow and pace. We have to let them lead. Fortunately, with the help of artificial intelligence and big data, we can start to understand buyer behavior previously lost in the “dark funnel.”