There has never been a better time to become a customer than today.
With little more than just a few taps or clicks, we can narrow down options, get information from trusted specialists, and have items delivered directly to our doorsteps, frequently within the day.
If only things were that simple for business buyers.
Instead, B2B buyers frequently experience conventional sales teams who put them through extended and drawn-out qualification processes while exposing them to a poorly constructed, misaligned sales pitch. And then the business buyer may wait months to get a proposition.
It is, frankly, a dreadful experience.
Not to more, though. The very same trends that have revolutionized the consumer experience are now changing the process of purchasing and selling between businesses. Within a decade, traditional B2B selling methods will probably appear as outdated as renting a movie from
Blockbuster will now.
Any earnings force which fails to adapt to this change risks being left behind because buyers gravitate to businesses that understand how to navigate this new environment.
The Industries Aren’t Ready
Even though the idea of "social selling"--utilizing online relationship-building to sell--is now a buzzword in the last few decades, many executives still see the net as an interesting sideline to tack on to their own traditional sales approaches.
That misses the reality of how clients need to do business nowadays.
Exactly like online shoppers, now's B2B buyers are far more informed, more likely to research their options ahead of time, and less tolerant of sales pitches that are shallow. In fact, according to the Demand Gen Report, 47 percent of buyers see 3-5 pieces of content on a corporation's website before even taking the initial step to speak with a salesperson.
As this trend accelerates from the coming years, the differentiation between selling and societal selling will evaporate: everything will be societal advertising, and it will simply just be predicted selling.
To get ready for this new universe, companies can not just tinker with the edges; they all have to invest in comprehensive strategies that understand that the internet as the major focus of their sales efforts and ensure their teams possess the skills and knowledge to live.
The very first thing that they will need to understand and adapt to is the changing mindset of buyers. Today's buyers are becoming more and more restricted to conventional sales methods such as cold calling and challenging sales pitches. They are more inclined to take an active part in seeking out solutions and are frequently well in their way of creating a determination at the time they reach a sales team.
Today's salesperson needs to be really engaged online every day, making thoughtful comments and sharing insightful posts that swell the ranks of the followers. Not only do those followers represent potential prospects, the very act of sharing expertise will constantly remind connections of the salesperson's capability and knowledge.
As an example, the timing is now to be sure their earnings leaders are making this a priority. Here are three concrete steps that businesses can choose to adopt an electronic sales strategy and live and flourish in this transition:
Align your sales efforts into the social sphere
There's no shortage of electronic tools available to today's sales forces. Utilize them. A good start is to re-evaluate your sales team's use of LinkedIn, that's THE site for people to conduct business, build their personal brands and expand their own networks. Salespeople must discuss insights, which may attract just the perfect prospective buyers. The easiest choice is to hire an outside firm that will interview your employees and retool their profiles to pull clients and followers.
Render digital growth for your sales team
The electronic and communication skills they need can't be learned overnight. Consider them as you would health professionals, with an expectation that they should be up to speed with the most recent advancements in their field. Ask them every week what they have done to win more followers. Ensure that your CMO is encouraging all to participate.
Let the employees express themselves online
Push your groups to stand out there showing their deep knowledge in the industry. It does not hurt to be somewhat provocative or eye-catching. Sure, that comes with risks, but it is a price worth paying to make the digitally savvy, high-profile sales staff you want. They will need to be mentioning something worth discussing; this isn't the opportunity to become bland.
Let it be worthwhile
Yes, there is a good deal of sound on LinkedIn when it comes to thought leadership. It may be just like watching five TED talks concurrently, 24 hours each day. Keeping that in mind, you have to be cautious with your strategy to ensure you're providing real value.
Your staff needs to thoroughly create and curate precious content to demonstrate that they are worth interacting with. Ensure this will not become a new"spray and pray" strategy. Your content has to issue. Do not simply post some inspirational quotes; you have to attract a point of view that talks to your buying audience. And keep in mind that prospects will not reach out to you because of a single post. What are you doing to produce content that builds your credibility as time passes?
Traditionally, most companies have turned to market or subject matter specialists for thought leadership. Now, it's time for revenue teams to fundamentally rethink their function and the way they present themselves. Sales teams will need to steer away from the use of pitchman into the function of a thought leader.
The amount of upheaval and cost that this entails will fluctuate widely from company to company. Startups with much more of a tech DNA will probably find it much easier and less expensive than a multinational firm that might be slower to adopt an electronic strategy.
Either way, it's imperative to start preparing for this transition today. Because extinction is forthcoming from today's B2B sales approaches, whether we like it or not.