It’s no secret that modern B2B buyers have changed.
They exhibit behaviors similar to B2C buyers, researching products on their own and engaging in sales interactions later than ever before. Salesforce reports that 82 percent of B2B buyers want the same experience they receive when making purchases as a B2C consumer.
Equipped with information from online research and peer-to-peer feedback, the modern B2B buyer expects something new and different from sellers. However, only 8 percent of buyers believe sellers are delivering value during the buying process. Sales enablement software and technology empowers sellers to turn this around by delivering customized sales interactions that address their buyers’ challenges.
Modern B2B buyers want sales reps to incorporate customized data and insights into their sales conversations to help buyers understand how a product or service will impact their businesses. They also expect sellers to act as trusted advisors, teaching buyers something new and pivoting conversations from one topic to the next to focus on the buyer’s needs in real-time.
As a result, selling to the modern B2B buyer requires an obvious shift in sales strategy. Gone are the days of one-way presentations and product demonstrations filled with feature-selling tactics. Today’s sellers need to adapt to the changing expectations of sellers with a data-driven approach.
In order to meet the modern B2B buyer’s needs, a salesperson needs to balance machine proficiency with human touch. While data and insights can help a salesperson demonstrate specific business or industry understanding, adding human elements to the mix stretches the data even further. Simple things such as listening to the buyer and sharing data at the right time ensure the data helps accelerate the deal, instead of distracting the buyer from the decision to purchase.
While only 51 percent of sales reps say they have market intelligence on their customers and prospects, 81 percent of those sales reps say this information is helpful in doing their jobs more effectively . This market intelligence can come in the form of data or insights on the customer’s propensity to buy or suggested next steps for an opportunity. Having the knowledge to engage buyers with the right content at the right time has a major impact when closing new business.
As sellers look to create stronger engagements with B2B buyers, many organizations have begun to leverage powerful sales enablement technologies. According to CSO Insights, there has been an 81 percent increase in companies implementing sales enablement programs, titles, and functions from 2016 to 2017 . That’s because sales enablement allows sellers to focus on delivering value to the buyer in a way that makes them excited for the next sales interaction.
Sales enablement also provides the means necessary to transform average sellers into high-performing sellers. Top-performing sales reps who use sales enablement strategies are empowered by interactive tools that capture input from the buyer. This helps guide sales discussions and provides the ability to pull real-time data from various sources to create a more dynamic and personalized sales experience that addresses the buyer’s unique challenges. With everything they need at their fingertips, sellers also benefit from the ability to quickly pivot sales conversations to address what buyers want to talk about and share content that resonates.
Sales management can replicate the success of top-performing sales reps by understanding how they leverage content at different stages of the buying process and the impact that content has on revenue. With a robust feedback loop, both marketing and sales leadership truly understand what content is being used, at what point in the sales process, and how prospects are responding to it. With this data, marketers can focus on creating more of what’s working and spend less time on what doesn’t. Once sales leadership understands what it takes to engage modern B2B buyers, it can equip its sellers, including low-performers and new hires, with the content and process they need to be successful.
Sales enablement software solutions can help sellers accelerate deal closure by 28-to-43 percent and drive company growth by 40-to-60 percent. Companies that implement sales enablement technologies experience a 70 percent lift in buyers purchasing more than the original scope of the project. This is due to the value and insights added throughout their sales interactions.
When these prospective buyers become customers, sellers using sales enablement platforms drive repeat business, with buyers who are 82 percent more likely to consider them for future opportunities. While new business is considered “sexy,” expansions and renewals are influential. When a customer gives more business, it becomes the ultimate testament to the organization’s ability to deliver value throughout the customer lifecycle.
When the sales strategy and customer journey align, this results in increasing the lifetime value of each customer by 26 percent . Aligning customer success with sales early in the process creates a better buying experience and leads to happy customers.
- 2017 CSO Insights Sales Enablement Optimization Study. pp. 1–42, 2017.
- Brontén, George. “18 Eye-Opening Sales Effectiveness Statistics.” Membrain, 1 Feb. 2017, www.membrain.com/blog/18-eye-opening-sales-effectiveness-statistics.
- “State of Sales.” 3rd Edition. pp. 1-58, 2018, Salesforce Research.