Marketing Automation and the Power of Listening

Mike Schultz and John Doerr recently published an entire book devoted to what B2B buyers say: Insight Selling: Surprising Research on What Sales Winners Do Differently. This work was the result of surveying 700+ B2B buyers responsible for $3.1 billion in annual purchases, so I’d call it authoritative. A week ago, Schultz explained in MarketingProfs what 7 factors distinguished the winners from losers. They are (emphasis added):

  1. Educated me with new ideas or perspectives
  2. Collaborated with me
  3. Persuaded me we would achieve results
  4. Listened to me
  5. Understood my needs
  6. Helped me avoid potential pitfalls
  7. Crafted a compelling solution

One of the most powerful arguments Schultz makes in his article is how marketing can support #1—the education of buyers—with exceptionally valuable content (yes, you can say content marketing). My biggest reaction, however, is to #4: “Listened to me.” It seems obvious, but how often do we marketers or salespeople make the wrong move because we’re not listening?

“Listening” is actually the foundation for the other 6 factors. What gets you to understand (#5) somebody to the point where you share new ideas (#1) in a collaborative spirit (#2) that leads to a solution (#7)? Listening! None of those other things happen if you’re not listening to the buyer. The difference between talking at and talking with someone is what wins business in today’s buyer-centric universe.

Listening and marketing automation
Listening is really at the heart of marketing automation, revenue marketing, and what I am calling (with a hat-tip to Aaron Hurst) purpose-driven marketing. The whole basis of marketing automation, for example, is that you give buyers what they need based on their desire for information (or to be left alone) at any given stage in the purchase process. How do you know what they need unless you pay attention to what they’re doing? Only through careful listening and observing can you skillfully respond to their needs in the most appropriate manner.


Check out our 14-pg. marketing automation primer for a deep look at the connection between lead-nurturing systems and revenue.

The Case for MA

Paul Richlovsky

About Paul Richlovsky

Paul brings a writing and teaching background to his decade-long marketing career. He advises clients on content strategy and editorial direction. He is an enthusiastic marketing automation practitioner and active member of the Cleveland Marketo User Group. He has written/edited multiple marketing guides, including those aimed at healthcare, higher education, financial services, B2C brands and manufacturing audiences. With a BA in English from the College of Wooster, he is also the author of a collection of poetry, "Under the Lunar Neon."He is particularly interested in usability, digital governance, ballroom dancing, bachata, racquet sports, and romping with his niece and nephews.

Leave a Reply