Three trends that suggest it’s time to update our sales model with some digital
For more than five years, we’ve been told that the buyer has changed. To that, I say: “SO WHAT?”
I’ll be honest, I hear the words, and I guess that I get it. What I want to understand is how a changing buyer impacts my sales team, my marketing team, my entire company, and what I can do about it.
First: 95% of the buyer’s time is now spent independently, not with the seller.
We, as buyers have become a heck of a lot more independent than I thought. Frankly, I’ve never considered the “changing buyer” in terms of how much time they spend with salespeople. It turns out to be very little. And I mean, VERY little! Today’s buyers are no longer dependent on our sales organizations to get the information they need to make their buying decisions. Today's buyers are independent, not dependent. We’re dealing with a digital, autonomous buyer who goes online to access the information they need to make a buying decision.
Bottom line: sales organizations don’t have nearly as much control and influence over the buyer as they once did.
Second: Buyers think sellers make the buying process harder, not easier.
Our selling process, that set of steps that we spent years defining and implementing, actually makes it hard for buyers to buy. 77% of software buyers think we make it harder, not easier for them to buy. That’s pretty telling: it says that we’re entirely out of alignment with our buyers. As a software buyer (as well as a vendor), I tend to seek out the path of least resistance. If a vendor I’m researching makes it difficult for me to get to the information I want and to buy, I abandon the process and move onto the next vendor. I don’t think I’m alone.
Bottom line: most sellers are yet to take any action to re-tool their organization and rethink how they present their products and services to the changing buyer.
Lastly. Sellers have almost zero visibility into buyer intent.
Research suggests that 2019 buyers have “jobs” or buying stages to complete to buy our software. Buyers don’t buy serially or linearly. Instead, they bounce from job to job, sometimes multiple times, until they’ve finished. And since they’re completing the majority of these jobs independently (they’re doing 95% of this work without communicating with sellers), our sales teams have no visibility into where the buyer is in their journey. Are they validating our solution correctly? Is our coach doing an adequate job of getting buy-in from the rest of the team? No wonder sales cycles take longer, pipelines are inaccurate, and end of quarter surprises are the norm.
Bottom line: we need to provide digital tools that “virtually” extend the salesperson to help buyers buy. And that give sellers visibility and intelligence into the process so we can accurately measure pipelines and forecasts.
How ready is your organization to enable today’s buyers?
The implications of today’s changing buyer has resulted in a new approach to B2B selling: Buyer Enablement. If the buyer is going to be digital, we need to support and enable them with a process that helps the buyer and us, the seller!
Rate your team’s ability on the following:
- Do you have a digital sales strategy?
- Do you offer a digital version of your product demo?
- Do you have visibility into where the buyer is in their buying journey?
- Do you know which digital assets are helping your sales process or win rate?
- Can independent buyers buy from you with minimal interaction from sales?
Your next steps:
If you’d like to chat with me about the challenges of today's independent buyer and buyer enablement, leave a comment below or drop me a note at: firstname.lastname@example.org.