Let’s go through one of the noblest occupations ever- sales before jumping further. Sales is one of the oldest professions that humankind has been practicing. Whether it’s B2B or B2C sales, the ultimate objective of the process is to bring in revenue to the organization.
Those who are in sales will tell you that it has changed their lives in many ways. In terms of building up confidence, resilience, customer relationships and hope for tomorrow. Having sales skills can help a person go a long way in life even if that person has left the sales job.
Coming to B2B sales, it refers to process of selling products or services to companies, rather than directly to customers. B2B sales have higher order values, longer sales cycles and are more complex than B2C sales.
But as all good things change, so do their conceptions over time. Similarly, sales have also adjusted. Earlier, it was a straight forward process in which a buyer would reach out to a potential vendor. Further, deal with salespeople, who’d pitch them with the best options to choose.
Today, B2B buyers are the ones who are taking the lead in sales process. They do their research before making any purchase. This includes researching online, asking colleagues and acquaintances, checking out reviews, etc. It’s said that to make the sales happen to convince the entire purchase departments to accept the offer, is required.
A deep understanding of the buyer’s journey and a well-planned strategy can go a long way to ensure that all your prospects are contacted at the right time, with the right content.
BUT WHAT ALL HAS CHANGED IN B2B SALES FROM THE PAST?
1. Information availability at fingertips
Product information like pricing, raw materials used, competitor details. Whatever it may be, the details are available online today. Prospects are spending their time researching on it and using the information for planning before talking to the sales rep.
There are specific studies which say that this increase in research and planning has led to the buying cycle getting longer. This shift means that the role of a salesperson is different than how it used to be. B2B Salespersons are now expected to be expert authorities. Someone who is available to answer questions and guide the buyer through the purchase process.
2.Buyers turning more skeptical
Technology and time have changed the B2B sales by turning the buyers to be more cynical and critical of vendors. They do not want to engage with a one size fits all strategy. B2B sales personnel, who are overcoming these objections understand the basic rule of sales.
The more trusted an individual is, higher will be their sales effectiveness. B2b buying behavior is built upon the trust of the customers without any doubts.
You must create trustworthiness in a customer to get your products sold. Modern buyers do not want to hear sales pitches but want to learn something. Even though it’s easier for prospects to find information online, it doesn’t mean that they always know how to interpret and apply it. It is where good old sales skills come up.
Influencer marketing is important for this area as it is the modern form of mouth-to-mouth marketing. This form of marketing is one of the most preferred options in b2b sales techniques utilized by sales reps.
3.Customers aren’t motivated by delight
Traditionally, salespeople used to follow the steps of delivering commitments, exceeding customer expectation. Or, earn the permission to sell and expand the commercial relationship. But this approach focused more on preventing loss instead of promoting growth.
B2B sales executives should be equipped to satisfy customer expectations for retention. But they should also keep in mind the amount of time and effort that will be wasted on exceeding those exceptions.
Today, B2B sales personnel should focus more on their activities on increasing the likelihood of growth.
4.The rise of the millennial
There has been a dramatic shift in B2B demographic over the past few years. Primarily, because millennial generation has started to rise to the status of decision makers. Currently almost half of the B2B buyers of major corporates are millennials. If your B2B sales strategies don’t have action plans that are appealing to these digital natives, you are in a problem.
5.Video content for business
Online videos are the sector which has seen more growth than ever before in the last couple of years. And it’s not just light viewing we are talking about. In 2014, over 895k hours of some of the top B2B videos were watched.
It’s said that over 70% of B2B buyers and researchers are watching videos throughout their stages for successful purchase decisions.
But still, many B2B sales personnel ignore the magic of online video marketing.
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B2B Sales is Dynamically Evolving
The growing technological advancements and emerging marketing platforms are transforming B2B sales process.
With these new developments, it is inevitable to keep experimenting cost-effective b2b sales techniques. As marketers and business leaders, the entire business fraternity needs to keep track of the ever-evolving B2B sales cycle. And, adopt new methods, improve old ones. They can learn the art of successful marketing and sales to win lucrative deals as well.