This week, over a thousand marketers converged on B2BMX in Scottdale, Arizona. If you were there too, then I hope you stopped by the Engagio booth to say hi and grab some candy!
And when our team came back to the office, what were they talking about? Not the sunny Arizona weather, not the copious amounts of candy and Mexican food they ate… but a session called “Why Declining Lead Conversion Rates Could Be A Good Thing — And What To Measure Instead” that was presented by Amy Hawthorne and Carrie Rediker, Principal Analysts at SiriusDecisions. In the session, Amy and Carrie briefly discussed a phenomenon called “buying group blindness.”
In marketing, we’ve worshipped at the altar of marketing qualified leads for a very long time: when a single person reaches a high enough threshold to become MQL, then they represent their entire company and potential deal.
The issue here is that, while it seems like you have the entire picture of a deal when you’re speaking to an MQL, in reality you only have one small piece of the puzzle. You have one member of the buying group, when in reality there may be three, four, five… even ten people.
That means, when you come to the table, there could be nine more people who you didn’t even know existed, much less spoke to and convinced of your product’s worth. And, of course, any one of them could prevent the deal from going through.
That’s buying group blindness.
“But wait!” you say. “What if there really is only one person in the buying group? Then I’m fine!”
This can be true, but keep in mind that Sirius Decisions has found that 80% of purchases over $5k require a buying group. Like it or not, buying groups are part of most B2B buying journeys.
So with that in mind, if you were a seller, would you rather have one MQL that’s shown great interest in your product, or a whole buying group that’s shown moderate interest in your product?
Here’s a hint: the whole buying group offers you a greater chance of a closed won deal.
This is so exciting to us at Engagio because our lead-to-account matching technology is actually perfect for helping to prevent buying group blindness! Our platform uses Marketing Qualified Accounts (MQA) rather than Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) for this very reason: by considering each lead in the context of their whole account, your sellers get a more complete picture of the buying group. This allows them to look at several different people who are expressing interest in the product, and then tailor their outreach to each individual.
To give an example, let’s say we have an account with an engaged MOPs person, IT person, and marketer. Our seller can talk to each person’s specific needs and concerns, while also keeping the group dynamic in mind.
By looking at the account as a whole, our seller can also figure out if a certain persona or decision maker is missing and not engaged in the conversation yet. Do they need to get Security involved, for instance? They might be able to convince MOPs, IT, and marketers that Engagio is awesome, but if Security doesn’t know that Engagio is GDPR compliant (we are, by the way!), then the deal could be at risk. But since our seller is on top of this, they can easily reach out to Security and make sure that the deal goes through.
This account view also prevents a different sort of buying group blindness, where an account hasn’t necessarily had anyone meet the MQL threshold yet, but a larger number of people are showing a slightly lower level of interest in your product. If you were only using MQLs, you wouldn’t be aware of this entire group; they simply wouldn’t show up on your radar. But with MQAs, you can keep tabs on the cumulative interest expressed by multiple people, and reach out to engage with them earlier.
By combining an account view of the buying process with L2A technology, you can get rid of your sellers’ buying group blindness and replace it with buying group x-ray vision. This empowers them to engage every member in the group and make sure that there aren’t any gaps where the deal could fall through.
And really, buying group x-ray vision sounds like a lot more fun, and will give you more results, than buying group blindness!