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A recent write-up in Harvard Business Review talks about a new landscape that has emerged where sales people are more important to the buying cycle than ever before.  Increasingly, buyers are more informed through self-directed actions that they take to educate themselves about products to address certain needs that they have identified. They are moving themselves through the sales cycle before even making contact with your sales team by harvesting information that you provide to them online.

In the article, a survey shows that direct interaction with a vendor’s sales team is considered the most effective method to influence a purchasing decision. The second most effective tool is references – which can be case studies, interaction with peers, and online product reviews.  Community portals provided by the vendor are cited as playing an important role in linking customers, allowing them to share unedited versions of their own experience with your products and services.

Providing online information that your customers are looking for such as technical briefs, white papers and case histories brings the relationship between marketing and sales closer together.  Now the sales process is starting earlier in the areas that used to be controlled only by marketing.

You can read the full article by clicking on the link below.