It seems so simple. How many times have you been in, say, an electronics store where an employee approaches you and asks, “Can I help you?”. No. Yes. There is no other answer. Most of the time I bet you say no. What if they would have waited until you spent a good long time in one section and asked, “What brought you in today?” Your only out is “just browsing” without disclosing why you are there (and perhaps ready to buy that $1,000 big screen!). It is no different in business to business environments. Sales people can’t help themselves – they want to qualify on budget (do you have $1,000 for this sir?), authority (has your wife said you can buy this?), timing (are you looking to leave with this today?) and need (do you have a TV today?). Think about how intrusive these questions would be in a retail environment — so why do we automatically try to do this in a business environment as well?
With marketing automation and the related analytics, it is much easier to stand back and wait until a customer is really browsing for solutions and then ask why they are doing it, rather than going right for the jugular. Sure, it will slow things down sometimes, but it will also speed things up greatly in other instances. Consider a truthful answer to the above retail analogy: “I am looking for a 50″ plasma TV.” Now the sales person can go almost any direction – “Why not an LCD? What type of room would it be in? What will you be watching the most?” Boom — The prospect is qualifying themselves and you didn’t have to coax it out of them. “By the way, we have this one on sale today…”