Overcoming the Challenges of Modern B2B Selling
A seller’s work is more complicated today than it has ever been. According to Forrester, 68% of B2B buyers prefer to conduct their own research online before speaking with a sales representative.
With more information available, the B2B sales process has grown in length and complexity and now involves more decision-makers. The buying process will usually include a great deal of back-and-forth between you and the client as you try to persuade them.
You may anticipate your sellers to prospect more efficiently, participate in more conversations, and connect better with prospects as you transform your company into a modern sales organization. Sellers must use digital channels to discover, interact, and connect with modern buyers to effectively navigate the new buyer’s journey.
The evolution of modern B2B buyers
According to a 2017 Gartner poll, independent web research takes up 27% of time spent on critical buying activities. Meetings with potential suppliers take up only 17% of the time. As a result, your website will be responsible for a significantly larger piece of the process than in the past. Many of the inquiries that used to be answered during a sales call must now be readily answered on your website.
Clients prefer a more B2C-style approach, with simple websites, explicit product information, and other material to aid decision-making. It’s critical to address as many of their inquiries as possible on the website before they have to call or chat.
In other words, if your company isn’t willing and able to deliver value to clients along this longer and more difficult trip, you’ll lose them.
B2B buyers and sellers have also been pushed to go digital in large numbers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. What began as a crisis reaction has turned into a new reality, with far-reaching implications for how market participants do business in the future.
The great digital transformation is here to stay, according to a recent McKinsey study on decision makers’ behavior internationally across industries since the crisis began. Over 75% of buyers and sellers now prefer digital self-service and distant transactions to face-to-face interactions, a trend that has persisted even after the lockdowns were removed.
One factor is, of course, safety. Self-serve and remote transactions have been praised by clients for their ease and efficiency, making it simpler for them to acquire information, make orders, and schedule services.
Even in industries where field-sales methods have traditionally prevailed, such as pharma and medical items, only roughly 20% of B2B accounts say they aspire to return to in-person sales.
What does the modern B2B purchasing procedure look like?
The actual phases of the B2B buying process, as previously indicated, have always stayed the same and will continue to do so. Whether buying a dozen paperweights or a multimillion piece of hardware, B2B buyers follow the same steps.
- Recognizing that there is a problem to be addressed
- Looking for resources and information
- Taking a look at and comparing the various options
- Bringing the acquisition to a close
- Evaluating the services or product following the acquisition
While these procedures appear to be very similar to those of a B2C purchase, the process as a whole is somewhat different. It’s a lot longer and more intensive. This is because the stakes are significantly higher: each purchase decision will impact your future operations and demand generation in some way.
Furthermore, whereas just one or two persons frequently make B2C purchases, B2B purchases require a significantly greater level of unanimity. Typically, there are six to ten decision-makers in the major buying group. They must first establish an agreement, after which they must gain the support of other organizational executives.
What modern hurdles do sales teams face?
The modern B2B buyer is a difficult-to-find beast. Before making that purchase, they have unique habits and perplexing routines. Here are a few of the common challenges sales teams face today.
Creating connections with purchasing committees and other relevant players
There are now more people on the average B2B buying committee. This is a crucial crossroads. Every year, new people are added to purchasing committees, necessitating the development of more ties. Your sales reps, on the other hand, may feel woefully incompetent at building those relationships.
This is because more individuals are conducting business online than ever before. Buyers are also conducting additional research before approaching a seller. Chances are they’ve already completed most of their purchaser’s journey sans you by the point they’re ready to chat.
But no matter how much research a buyer has done, they will almost certainly need to speak with a live person. In an era when relationship marketing is more crucial than ever, content serves as a link between marketing, sales, and the buyer, allowing us to move the deal forward.
Having the right data to formulate the correct strategy
Your clients are masters of Googling. They’ll discover the answer to every query they have regarding a product feature, client experience, or ROI. If they can’t find it, they have a variety of options for asking someone for help. This means that content is crucial to most accounts when making a purchase decision.
However, 1 out of every 2 purchasers claims that they frequently receive information unrelated to their problems, difficulties, or responsibilities. This puts sellers in yet another awkward situation. Buyers rely on content to help them make decisions, yet half of them aren’t obtaining the information they need to make an informed purchase.
Aligning sales and marketing is a lot easier than it sounds
Indeed, if both sales and marketing are focused on the same account list, alignment will emerge. However, although close to 60% of revenue teams claim they have an account-based program in place, just 30% of those teams say it has been successful in helping them meet their revenue targets.
While there could be various reasons for this underperformance, perhaps we can simplify it to this basic fact: we handle pipeline leads, contacts, and accounts too often like numbers rather than living, breathing people.
Human relationships, not data, are the focus of sales teams. Humans, not numbers, are the ones who consume your content. And it’s humans, not accounts, who are paying for your services. We’d all be doing it if scaling human relationships was simple, but the truth is that it’s pretty tricky.
It’s challenging to create and personalize content for many personas across industries and stages, yet it’s vital for revenue teams today.
How can revenue teams cope with these changes?
Here are a few B2B sales tips that can help establish a successful modern sales organization for business owners and sales leaders.
Build a solid team.
The people on your team are the foundation of your organization’s success. Modern sellers must be coachable and eager to learn and grow. Your sellers will not gain the distance selling skills required to become an effective sales organization if they have a closed attitude and are unwilling to adopt new tactics, including modern sales tools and intelligence
For more information, read: Compelling Event Signals vs. Buying Intent.
You must help your team comprehend that the modern buyer has evolved and that at every phase of the sales cycle, they must provide guidance and significance to the buyer. This need for an attitude and behavior change can be instilled through formal social selling training and frequent sales coaching.
Implement a modern B2B sales strategy with Signals.
Suppose you have a well-defined strategy in your sales plan. Your sellers will be able to use digital selling tools and tactics to discover, engage, and connect with prospects to initiate more sales conversations and establish better connections. This process involves using these sophisticated tools to keep track of important data, such as buying intent and compelling event signals.
Trigger signals can be used to keep track of what’s going on with your existing accounts, in addition to establishing pipelines. They give you more than just intelligence; they also let you keep track of what’s going on in your accounts, so you’re constantly ready for potential sales opportunities.
With the support of sales intelligence, sellers may conduct more detailed corporate searches utilizing relevant and current data points, allowing them to more accurately target businesses that match their ideal client profiles and are thus more likely to purchase your product.
Trigger signals provide insight into when a lead is most likely to require a product or service, allowing sellers to seize the opportunity as it arises.
To learn more about how Signals can improve your sales process, read our recent blog: Take the Guesswork Out of Your Sales Process with Signal Intelligence.