Competitive Strategy, Content Marketing, Customer Experience, Event Marketing, Interactive Marketing, Marcom, Marketing, Marketing Automation, Marketing ROI, Online Programs, Sales, Social Media

The Elusive Buyer; Building a Common Deal Trajectory in 5 steps

Pic-TrajectoryThe holy grail of marketing – any marketing – is connecting strategy, tactics, execution and output to the sales process. As with that other Grail, its hard to find. Building a Common Deal Trajectory is a great way to start the search, though – I will cover it in more detail and with recent examples in my presentation at the B2B Marketing Forum on 13 March in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Understanding how to integrate marketing with the sales function as part of your business development process basically means understanding common deals. Take these 5 steps to get your marketing programs tightly integrated with the sales objectives.

STEP 1: Deal Analyses
First, take 10 recent good, won deals and 10 bad, lost deals, sit down with the sales teams involved, and meticulously analyse how the deals came about or broke in the sales process.

Be thorough and methodical; don’t discard what may look like mere details at first sight. Document every step along the way. Per deal, use all data you can possibly put your hands on. Add names, job roles, engagement type, actions, response (positive-negative, what made them respond), correlations and dependencies.

How was the buying decision made, which meetings were planned and what exactly happened in each of those meetings, what was the sales strategy, how did the account come to the sales team, which marketing activities touched the account, at which levels of business? Which responses caused for the lead to be qualified, who qualified, and how? Did the prospective customer search, browse, view, click, register, attend, comment, like, recommend, download, retweet, et cetera – and if so: who within the account did, and exactly when in the engagement cycle?

STEP 2: Deal Makers, Breakers & Insights
Next, cluster activities and touches into Deal Makers, the bigger steps that – in hindsight – led to the win or caused it to be lost. In lost deals, which sequence of events led up to the break? Look for Deal Insights, i.e. patterns between the various deals you’re analyzing in what’s working, what’s not. Focus on repeatable approaches. (In this sense, and email or even a single tweet can be a deal maker).

STEP 3: Describe the Common Deal Trajectory
Thirdly, based on your Deal Makers, Deal Breakers and Deal Insights, build a first Common Deal Trajectory – the string of tactics and touches commonly needed over time to turn a net new suspect into a customer. Assign ownership and timeframes to the various elements.

STEP 4: Build Integrated Programs
Next, create an integrated marketing and sales program that optimizes the impact and outcome of each of the touches documented in your Common Deal Trajectory, across all marketing, communications and sales channels: sales promotions, social, PR, third party, owned and channel events, content, digital, paid media and email, nurture plan, webinars, demonstration, telemarketing, sales meeting, RFI/P, proof of concept, trial, reference customer visits, user group meeting.

Optimize every single touch to do exactly what it’s intended to: get the prospective buyer to the next touch and the desired outcome as efficiently as you can. Think about when and where you spend your budget. High volume and low value; low cost per touch. Low volume, high value; high cost per touch.

Target multiple job roles if called for, and adjust your content and messaging accordingly. If you need the CIO to buy-in to your vision, in order for the IT team to start reading your LinkedIn updates and tweets, in order for the chief architect to attend a solutions session, in order for the application manager to self-demo the solution to great detail, which happens to be what you need in order to get the deal in – then build and sequence the program that will do exactly that and nothing else.

Have fun. Note that you are planning for the ideal scenario. Don’t worry about getting it wrong – but be realistic. Study the data, have the conversations, and keep verifying your program decisions with the sales team.

STEP 5: Improve, Differentiate & Orchestrate
As you execute your first integrated marketing and sales programs, you’ll understand how and where you can improve your Trajectory. Actually, your second program will have a better chance of hitting the nail on the head. And as you get the hang of it, your sales and channel counterparts will come look for you to build more programs, targeting different audiences with new tactics, propositions and solutions. That’s when you’ll start to develop and maintain multiple trajectories for prospective and existing customers on various levels of the target organisations your after.

Curious to learn more? Join my session in DeFabrique, Utrecht on 13 March. Slot details:


For more information on my session at the B2B Marketing Forum, click here.


2 thoughts on “The Elusive Buyer; Building a Common Deal Trajectory in 5 steps

  1. Great post Kees, however, to do that, marketers will need to measure and keep the digital (and offline) footprint of their buyers, which is hardly being done today. Secondly, from our conversations with B2B marketers, I am afraid to say that only about 5% are currently doing lost/won deal analysis with sales. But I am sure that this is a great methodology to uncover the buyer journey and succeed in integrated marketing programs

  2. Thanks for your reply, Shimon. You are right – most of us talk the talk, but very few walk the walk. However, successful marketers I know, beat sales and even sales ops when it comes to digging into the data generated by our audience engagements, be it on the marketing, sales, professional services, or the customer support side of the houe. Win/loss analyses are usually just being done to understand the competitive landscape (scratching the surface), not enough to really grasp what’s working and not between marketing and sales. See you in 2 weeks!

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