TALKING SALES 197: “Integrating digital to build trusted relationships”

Same page 01            “Bring all the people that are involved in the decision onto the same page – your page.“ – A ‘Talking Sales’ discussion with John Bedwany by John Smibert



“Why are you wasting your time with a digital strategy to influence the ‘C’ Suite?  They don’t absorb digital”.

John BedwanyThat’s according to John Bedwany. He emphasises that your digital strategy needs to be focused on the influencers and recommenders – not the C-suite.  It’s a process of education.

John tells us that as we should follow this approach of strategic digital based education, and then when we hit a certain lead score it’s time to use the phone to call the CEO. He or she will then check with his well educated recommenders and find your message is fully supported. It’s digital for influencers and telephone for the decision-makers.

Watch this short 4 min video – or read the transcript – to understand why John believes a strategic combination of digital and telephone is the best way to build relationships and pipeline.

The sales productivity strategies discussed here should be of value to CEO’s COO’s, CSO’s and sales leaders.


John Bedwany is the CEO of The Database Dept.  He is a thought leader and a disruptive thinker who helps his clients achieve extraordinary productivity in sales and marketing.


John S: Hello, I’ve got John Bedwany with me again – welcome back, John!

John B: Hi, John!

John S: Hey, I’m loving this series of interviews, and we’re up to marketing challenge number three in the B2B environment that you portray, and that challenge is all about getting digital marketing to build trusted relationships and to build pipeline. I know you’ve got some issues and concerns. Digital has value, doesn’t it?

John B: There’s absolutely no doubt digital has a lot of value in the industry. My point of view is simply this though. When you look at the enterprise space and you understand how they absorb content and education, there are three areas or three job functions that we need to work with. One is the decision makers, two are the influencers, and three are the recommenders or the researchers. So what happens with digital in that space is the influencers and researchers or recommenders, they’re the ones that are absorbing digital.

Same page 02Now, through all the various engines they hit a certain lead score that then pops up and says, “We think that person or that company may be interested in this,” and then we call them back. What we find, and we’re dealing with 70,000 consulting calls a year in this model, what we find is most of them say, “No, we’re not in the marketplace. We don’t make the decisions. Why are you calling me?” They feel intruded, if you like.

John S: You’re calling the CEO.

John B: No, we’re calling the people that are actually absorbing the information, because that’s what they’ve asked us to do.

John S: Okay. So why are they saying that?

John B: Well, because they’re not the ones that make the decisions, and they’re now starting to see that we’re actually tracking their behaviour via the digital. Now, the solution is simply this. We need to be calling the C-levels regularly anyway, because we have to build a one-on-one relationship with these people through the methodologies.

John S: And the five steps of building trust.

John B: Absolutely. While that’s happening, their people, their influencers and their researchers are absorbing digital. So when it pops up and says, “We think they may be ready,” don’t call them, call the CEO.

John S: Call the CEO. Okay, I understand now.

John B: And guess what the CEO’s going to do, or the CFO or the CMO? He will talk to his influencers and researchers within his company, who they trust, and say, “Belinda, what do you think about ABC company and their solution?” and because she’s been educated on it, she’ll say, “Yes, because…” it increases propensity to build relationships, propensity to build the pipeline.

John S: Okay, so back to the old prospecting thing. Again, you’re looking at a strategic approach where digital has a role and the phone has a role and strategically you’re building a relationship with the organisations, which includes the CEO and those that do absorb digital, which you’re saying is typically not the CEO or the CFO or whatever.

John B: Correct, correct.

John S: So he or she, the CEO, will be in a position once you do build that relationship, build that contact, now to leverage the knowledge of their recommenders and influencers who are going to be – because you’ve been building a relationship with them as well through digital and so on – to have the triangulation come together.

John B: Correct. It brings all the people that are involved in the decision making to be on the same page, and that same page is your page.

Same page 03 - board presoJohn S: Okay. It seems to make a lot of sense to me and I’ve seen some organisations trying to do this, but where do the most fail in trying to do that?

John B: They fail because they’re speaking to the wrong people. It’s important to educate the influencers and researchers, but when they hit a lead score then don’t call them, call the decision makers.

John S: Okay. A strategic word you used there was “educate”, so you’re talking about going out and educating all the influencers, recommenders and the CEO/CFO in different forms and different ways. It’s a strategic approach to educate and get them to the stage where they know and trust you, and when they have a need everything comes together.

John B: And every route to market has its play. Digital for the influencers and researchers, tele-consulting for talking to the decision makers, and the sales and pre-sales when they invite you in. Augment the three and you’ve got a natural process to offer all the education an organisation needs, to give it the solution it needs based on its business problems or opportunity.

John S: And you said it’s a natural process, it’s all a strategic approach, to follow a process to move the whole process forward, that level of trust and understanding and relationship.

John B: Absolutely, John.

John S: I like it, I like the concept. I really need to know more about how you make it happen, but let’s cover some of that in future interviews.

John B: I’ll show you how we measure it.

John S: Thank you very much, John!

John B: Thanks, John!


More discussions with John Bedwany:


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John works with companies who are striving to grow high margin revenue by retaining customers, creating value for customers and strategically acquiring new customers. He loves successful and happy sales teams who are driving positive change for their customers. He coaches sales professionals who are keen to enhance their career. He helps them develop their skills and capabilities and enhance & leverage their personal brand.

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