How The Self-Service Buying Journey Is Causing A Role Reversal Between Marketing & Sales 

Published: July 10, 2024

There’s a considerable gap between demand generation marketers’ expectations and their goals, as 80% consider getting new qualified leads mission critical — but 50% are still missing their pipeline goals. According to Tony Uphoff, President of demand management platform Pipeline360, this is often because expectations are marred by lack of budget, as well as the ongoing disconnect between sales and marketing.

Uphoff stopped by the B2B Marketing Exchange Podcast booth at the B2B Marketing Exchange event in February to discuss the new world of digital marketing, the role of data will play and the evolving shifts between sales and marketing. As part of his conversation with myself and my co-host, Klaudia Tirico, Uphoff noted that there are four key things marketers need to keep in mind as they navigate the digital landscape:

  1. High-quality demand generation at scale;
  2. Ensuring 100% compliance with data governance standards;
  3. Analytics that allow “in-flight” campaign optimization; and
  4. Demonstrable impact on pipeline.

Throughout the conversation, Uphoff expanded on those insights and shared more expertise into the digital landscape, as well as the idealized union between sales and marketing. While you’ll have to head over to your podcast player of choice (or our handy-dandy website!) to hear the full episode, here’s a quick snippet of what we covered:

Kelly Lindenau & Klaudia Tirico: Can you expand on some of the factors contributing to the self-service buying journey, share some steps marketers can take to personalize outreach and assets?

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Tony Uphoff: All the demography we use in modern marketing was lifted from the Baby Boomer generation, but now we have Millennials in the same workforce at the same time — it’s the broadest demographic stretch we’ve ever seen in the history of North American businesses. As digital natives meet analog natives, it presents an interesting cultural dynamic. A lot of the self-service stuff was initially driven by the younger generation, but now it’s become an industry standard.

To create content tailored to independent buyers, the answer is around data. It’s going to sound cliché, but if you look carefully and have good data science, you’ll see people’s digital footprints. That doesn’t mean the persona will always be 100% correct, but business still need to embrace the idea of letting data lead their understanding of prospect and customer needs.

Lindenau & Tirico: What are some of the biggest impacts that this new, independent digital landscape has on demand generation marketers?

Uphoff: If you think of demand generation in a series of phases that we’ve gone through, we’ve gone through the “just give me a lead, just give me a name,” phase, which we’re starting to move past as we clean up our leads. We realized that unbranded leads aren’t valuable; if I get your name from an asset download but you don’t know anything about me, my company or our offerings, it’s tough to make an impact. But if I can take advanced display and surround you, and perhaps your colleague has heard of my company and familiar with brand, we’ll be able to have that connection to you.

We’re also struggling with how to sell in a digital-first world. And while I don’t know if I’d lay that at the feet of the marketing department, at the end of the day, marketers have to figure out, “if 70% of my prospects’ purchase processes are done before they engage, how does that impact the average sales cycle?” And from there, marketers need to figure out when the best time to bring in sales would be.

Lindenau & Tirico: While we’re on the topic, can you expand on how the sales role is also evolving in this age of the independent buyer?

Uphoff: We’ve seen glimpses of the sales rep of the future, but I don’t think we’ve met them yet. I think it’s entirely possible that we’re going to see an era shift, where sales is in more of a support and nurturing role, which was typically thought of as marketing’s jurisdiction. And then marketing would shift over to engaging customers and catering to their needs.

Lindenau & Tirico: Naturally, this brings up the topic of sales and marketing alignment, which many people are still trying to figure out — especially amidst shifting responsibilities. With all the newness, what advice would you have to help internal teams become more closely aligned?

Uphoff: It comes down to figuring out what’s the right internal structure, and then determining the relationships within those structures across customer success, BDR functions, sales and marketing. But it’s not easy to coordinate workflows across existing siloes; there’s no simple path. The secret is interdependence.

To unlock more from Tony’s conversation and dive deeper into the work he’s doing over at Pipeline360, check out the full episode here!

Posted in: Industry News

Tagged with: pipeline360

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