6 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Buy Consensus

6 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Buy Consensus
August 4, 2021

 

We’re not for everyone, and we get that. In fact, over the years, we’ve built up a pretty good idea of who does and who doesn’t fit Consensus. 

That’s hard to nail down, especially the part of telling an entire segment “we’re just not that into you”, when some of them show interest...that irks me.

But we’ve been around and we’ve tested the use cases pretty thoroughly (we’ve even nearly gone out of business a couple of times).

And to be fair, I think every revenue team could scale big time and close more deals more often having Consensus in their stack, but it’s not realistic. 

So when I recently read 7 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Buy Metadata I thought “How refreshing!” and decided to give our audience a version of it.

If after reading this you still want to know morewe should talk. If not, we’ll continue pumping out content to help you do your jobs better, hopefully. So keep coming back!

You shouldn’t buy Consensus if….

 

  1. You don’t have a presales team or you don’t understand what presales does

Presales wins big with consensus. As part of the sales team, they’re going through their own robust digital disruption, which partly explains why we’ve been so successful there.

Marketing’s a different story, and not for the reasons you’d think.  

It’s not that marketers can’t get valuethey just have a perceived mandate that’s different from what we’re built for. 

A lot of marketers think in terms of awareness, reach, leads (and lead qualification), sizzle.

Presales teams think in terms of buyer qualification, consultation, complex processes, demos, etc. 

There should be more overlap between revenue teams because their objectives aren’t dissimilar, but there’s nuance.

Especially around guiding buyers with demos through complex purchases. 

First, sellers don’t sell, buyers do. There’s really no such thing as a complex sale, only a complex purchase. 

Only 83% of a buyer’s purchasing process is spent in direct contact with ALL vendorsthat includes both you and your competitors. 

So while they actively research and evaluate solutions, you’ve got their attention maybe 3-5% of the time, if you’re lucky. What do you think is happening in between all your meetings? They’re selling! 

The problem is, buyers aren’t good at it. It’s hard, they don’t do it often, and (until Consensus came along) vendors hadn’t figured out how to give buyers B2C-like experiences─ digital, self-guided, personalized, easily shareable, etc.

Second, major tech purchases come with a lot of riskthey affect more teams as they become more integrated, they disrupt processes, tech stacks sometimes have complex integration requirementsso buyers bring in a bunch of people to spread the risk. That means more stakeholders, more people to win over, more work required to “build the case”. 

And that’s all on your buyers’ shoulders. 

By the time they show interest and intent, they want to see the product and understand the why, how and what of it. 

In short, they want to cut straight to Presales. 

Now, multiply that by however many prospects marketing qualifies for a live demo and it’s easy to see the problem: bottlenecks, delays, holding customers hostage to your calendar. 

Sandbox-style product tours only go so far (see #4). And it’s not like you can quickly and easily grow a presales teamthese folks are costly and they take time to ramp. 

So scale is another huge issue, as is cycle time. 

But because of what Presales is uniquely trained to provide (different levels of consultation and product demos, from high-level to extremely deep and technical), they’re growing in demand across the funnel.

When this ^ is your world, as it is with presales, you get us. When it’s not, you don’t. 

 

  1. You require all customer-facing videos to be highly produced

A lot of marketers flip out when they learn their SEs record demo videos from rough cut Zoom calls.

I get it. I’m in marketing. Quality control, brand integrity, credibility and all that. But when it comes to demos, we need to chill and take a second look at what matters.

To create the best digital demo experiences, you have to think YouTube, not Hollywood. 

It turns out that buyers want authenticity and detail (i.e. even when recorded from Zoom, “ums”, “buts” and all) way more than over-produced commercial-like presentations. 

We did a test and got 3X more engagement from rough cut digital demo’s than from the expensive, highly-produced ones (presenting the same content). 

Maybe it’s a sales stage thing, but there’s a point at which tech buyers want to see the product and understand why and how it will fit their business. 

In short, they want Presales.

But demos can be one of the hardest things to get right. The trick is in the balance—guiding buyers with what they want and need for the right stage, with nothing that distracts, in order to help them sell. 

Early on in our history, we had marketing customers spending weekssometimes monthsputting their digital demos together. 

Some even got so caught up in scripts and styles and voiceovers and music that by the time they could have launched, so much in the product had changed that their videos had become irrelevant. Recency and speed matter in this game.

And when they finally finished their videos, they felt so manufactured and shallow to buyers who had already gotten their fill of marketing fluff that they disregarded them.

Remember: Youtube, not Hollywood.

That’s why we pivoted to focus directly on building a digital presales platform where teams could quickly create digital demo experiencesself-guided, personalized, on-demandto guide their buyers across the funnel. It’s what gives scale to presales.

 

  1. You’re focused primarily on moving leads, not qualified buyers, through the funnel

Linear thinking to create revenue doesn’t work any more, at least in most industries. By linear I mean you have inputs and outputs, and if you want more output you ramp up inputs. 

As an example, if you have a high revenue target, you look at how many hours your people can put in, what you get from those hours, and how many more you need to hit the target. 

When that’s your model, you do a few things: training to help reps get in front of buyers faster or to make them better at live interactions (not a bad thing); push individual quotas higher (sometimes arbitrarily); throw bodies at the problem (expensive, slow); rearrange territories; buy productivity tools; sometimes you do it all simultaneously.

The problem: this completely ignores the buyer! Think about how many tools and hours of training you’ve received to improve how you affect the buyers’ experience. Not many, I’d wager.

When your revenue engine is focused just on creating leads and dropping them into a funnel, presales and sales will be expected to just focus on processing those leads through a system of reactive qualification and stage progression. 

But that creates a ton of waste. I remember reading an audit XANT did on the time spent working closed-won vs. closed-lost deals. They found that on average teams spend 3X more time chasing opportunities that will never close (or which aren’t ready yet) vs ones that will.

You can pinpoint where it breaks down too. In preseales, buyers wait between 1 and 3 weeks (with some buyers waiting months) before ever seeing their first demo. 

Demos are the most important, most requested form of content from interested buyers! Why wait so long to give them what they need to sell, and why assume you can only deliver it in a live meeting?

A big reason why presales and sales reps get backed up is because they’re processing so many unqualified buyers, instead of spending time on consultative engagements with qualified ones.

Since buyers expect guided, personalized, digital experiences, stop holding them hostage to your calendar. 

Especially when it gives you absolutely no insight into who’s ready, who’s involved, and what really matters most to them. Digitize and automate what you can to qualify and create real demand, not just leads, and use your time more effectively.

 

  1. You just want to give customers a sandbox-style product experience

There’s value in letting people “play” with your product. In fact, our highest converting customers are those who take the time to experience the Consensus platform for themselves.

But there is a difference between an open, sandbox-style experience and a digital demo experience. 

In the first, you get an answer to WHAT—as in what is the product like. You play around with cloned code and dummy data inside what looks like the product. 

In the second, you get an answer to WHY and HOW—it doesn’t just expose the product, but puts the product into context. They know why you built it the way you built it and how it fits their business. Your first live interactions start to look a lot more like your second, third or fourth interactions, but without any of the delay.

Both sets of questions are important. We’re not discounting the first. We just found there’s way more leverage in answering the second set of questions. 

And when you want to guide the experience instead of just leaving it open without much context, we’re a much better fit. 

 

  1. You’re only looking for content management 

There are a ton of great technologies for curating content and managing version control. We’re solving a different problem.

Our customers likely have one of the above solutions already. But where they fall short is in delivering digital demos for an improved buying experience.

The experience I’m talking about is one that reinforces your strategic narrative and gives your buyers answers to the why, how, and what of your product so they can move forward with confidence.

There should be different types of demos for different stages (some of which you can digitize, some you shouldn’t). But when your presales muscle is oriented around just that one big live demowhere you unload features on an unsuspecting prospect regardless of qualificationyou’re gonna find waste. 

Segment demos based on stage and qualification so you can scale instantly and make your demos more effective. 

In reality, there are 6 demo categories:

  1. Vision - solution to problem, how could live be better
  2. Micro - first look at the product, bridge the gap between vision and solution
  3. Qualifying - go deeper into differentiators and disqualify where appropriate
  4. Technical - custom and much deeper into the product
  5. Closing - answering specific issues, tying things off to the vision
  6. FAQ 

Within the demos you digitize on Consensus, you can map individual pieces of content, but our focus is on the demos.

 

  1. You don’t sell B2B software, or you do but it’s to SMB and is simple enough to demo in under a minute

We have a type. Very simple SaaS solutions or SaaS sold to individuals, not teams, don’t require the automation, interactivity or analytics that we offer.

Perhaps down the road as B2B tech becomes much more self-serve and SMB-focused vendors feel more of a pinch from being resource constrained, there could be a great fit. 

But our customers generally have complex solutions, often serving multiple lines of business across a range of use cases. They can have really tight AE to SE ratios, but not always. Even so, they do always struggle to spend their time on the right customers or the best activities.

Would that everyone knew they needed us! But alas, we know who we’re good for and who’s likely to struggle to realize value. 

So while we build our juggernaut of a business around a focused set of market signals, we’ll continue to let the world know what could be!

 
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Aaron Janmohamed

Aaron Janmohamed

I started out in enterprise sales and had a great run for a little over 10 years. But I was always interested in brand strategy, messaging and positioning. At one point near the end of my sales run, while still carrying a quota, I took on some marketing projects and eventually owned the product marketing function. And I loved it! I've always gotten myself engaged in building strategic narratives, generating demand and strengthening brands. I just do it at scale now for high-growth SaaS.

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