Disruptive technologies are turning up the competitive pressure on B2B companies, pushing them to reevaluate channel business models for selling to the modern buyer. With the Internet of Things and Big Data becoming our new reality, customers are changing the way they buy, deploy, manage and use technology. Social computing, mobile, real-time analytics and cloud technology are changing what B2B buyers expect from salespeople.
THE MODERN BUYER
The modern buying process starts long before a customer interacts with a distributor, reseller or partner. In fact, “57 percent of the purchase decision is complete before a customer even calls a supplier,” according to CEB. In order to meet this challenge, the successful modern sales professional must understand where customers are in the buying cycle to produce personalized, relevant communications that truly engage customers – anytime, anywhere.
The modern buyer is digitally driven, socially connected, mobile with multiple devices and empowered with unlimited access to not only information, but people to inform their purchase. “More than 50 percent of buyers consult third-party sources before consulting a company’s sales force,” according to Avanade.
A survey by Telesian Technology revealed, “An average buyer digests only about 1 in 10 marketing contacts. Of those 1 in 10 contacts, only about 1 in 10 lead to a follow-up or significant action. That means about 1 in 100 marketing contacts result in a buyer taking any further action.” Hence, you must avoid complex messages to win the battle for buyer’s attention.
Today’s B2B buyers are more knowledgeable and no longer rely on a salesperson in the same manner. In fact, when buyers are comparing multiple suppliers‚ the amount of time spent with anyone sales rep may be only 5% or 6%. This means buyers are seeking information that can add value to their purchasing process, not simply someone who is trying to convince them to buy a prepackaged offering that doesn’t truly address their complex needs.
EVOLUTION OF THE SALES STRATEGY
In today’s nanosecond culture, sales success relies on content and messaging being brief with a value proposition that is strictly about the buyer and what that individual is trying to achieve.
Competitive differentiation these days is achieved by selling business outcomes. B2B product-focused vendors must transition from selling solutions to outcomes selling that focuses on delivering tailored offerings that fulfill the business objectives customers are trying to achieve. In a sea of technology offerings, creating tailored solutions that demonstrate a clear and strong business advantage will set your offering apart from the competition.
Moreover, the direct sales team and channel partners must be 100 percent aligned with this core messaging. Each must engage in outcomes selling when pitching and selling your products and services. Salespeople need to develop a solid understanding of a target buyer’s needs and use the same brand messaging across marketing and with every customer interaction to convince customers your company has a solution that will deliver a positive business impact.
SALES ENABLEMENT FOR THIS DECADE
Brand consistency across product lines combined with a complete picture of a buyer’s needs is crucial for closing the deal. To survive in this new sales environment, salespeople must:
- Understand what the buyer wants to achieve
- Demonstrate subject matter expertise
- Tell compelling stories
- Help prospects navigate through the buyer’s journey
Enable your salespeople to close deals by building a sales enablement platform that allows real-time collaboration among sales, channel partners, marketing and distributors. Connect sales teams by providing the means for daily content sharing, sales collateral distribution, buyer analytics, dynamic presentations and mindshare.
Remember to work backwards from your target audience to build a sales curriculum that is mapped to their unique buyer’s journey. Help your channel be successful by making your selling points streamlined and accessible at any given time from any given location. Make sure your sales enablement platform is logical, scalable, trackable and, most importantly, turnkey.
- Logical – Customers can intuitively walk through the platform and access key resources based on their needs
- Scalable – Create a sales enablement platform that can accommodate infinite users and work to incorporate future solutions
- Trackable – Develop a back-end admin tool that streamlines the capturing of user data to monitor customer engagement
- Turn-Key – Sales teams are able to manage the content, add resources and monitor partner engagement
REINVENTING YOUR BUSINESS MODEL
The cost of buying attention is skyrocketing. However, having the right systems and processes; moreover, the complete competencies of a team will provide a competitive advantage in today’s digitally connected world. No more delivering the same message to customers at different stages of a sales cycle, companies must adapt and evolve to sell to the modern buyer. Salespeople must listen to prospects, provide information that helps educate the buyer, and avoid selling solutions, but instead sell outcomes. Invest wisely in an enablement strategy that ensures you get the right sales tools, content and messaging to your channels. Technology is changing how people connect, communicate and discover information; as such, companies need a new sales approach to connect with sophisticated buyers.
Learn how Elevation Marketing helped Avnet – a Phoenix-based electronics and technology distributor – connect with the modern buyer and accelerate channel revenue growth with the launch of a custom sales enablement and training platform.