Let’s go through one of the noblest occupations ever before jumping into how it’s applied in the modern ways of business. Sales is one of the oldest profession that mankind has been practicing. Whether it’s B2B sales or B2C sales, the ultimate objective of the process is bringing in revenue to the organization.
Those who have taken up the profession will tell you that it has changed their life in many ways – in terms of building up confidence, resilience, building relationships & hope for tomorrow. Having sales skills can help a person go a long way in life even if that particular person has left the sales job.
Coming to B2B sales, it refers to organizations who primarily sell products or services to companies, rather than directly to customers. B2B sales have higher order values, longer sales cycles & are essentially more complex than B2C sales.
But as all good things have changed so has their conceptions over time, similarly sales has also adjusted. Earlier it was relatively a straight forward process, in which when a buyer needed a product or solution, they’d reach out to a potential vendor & deal with the salespeople, who’d pitch them with the best options to choose.
Or else sales executives would find a prospect, call that person & would know if they had a shot of making the sale or not, & they would make decisions to pursue the prospect or not. Historically, the salesperson was the expert & the prospective buyer never had access to pricing, specs, customer reviews or competitor information.
Today, B2B buyers are the ones who are taking the lead in the sales process. They do their own research initially before making the purchase, which includes researching online, asking colleagues & acquaintances, checking out reviews etc. It’s said that to make the sales happen convincing the entire purchase departments to accept the offer, is required.
But despite the challenges, a deep understanding of the buyer’s journey & 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, happy for the sale & converted to repeat customers.
But what all has changed in B2B sales from the past?
- Information availability at fingertips
Product information, specs, pricing, competitor details – whatever it may be, the information is available online today. Prospects are spending their time researching on it & using the information for planning before talking to the sales rep. There are certain studies which say that this increase in research & planning has led to the buying cycle getting longer which means that the role of the salesperson in the interaction is different than how it used to be. B2B Sales persons are now expected to be expert authorities available to answer questions & guide the buyer through the purchase process rather than being just a source of information.
- Buyers turning more skeptical
Technology & time has changed the B2B sales by turning the buyers to be more cynical & 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 which is, the more trusted an individual is greater will be their sales effectiveness. Modern buyers do not to want hear sales pitches but want to learn something and even though it’s easier for prospects can easily find information online, it doesn’t mean that they always know how to interpret & apply it. This is where the good old sales skills come up. Influencer marketing is also huge importance in this area as it is the modern form of mouth-to-mouth marketing, only that the influencers involved are experts in the field. Bonus: 10 MUST FOLLOW B2B SALES INFLUENCERS OF OUR TIME
- Customers aren’t just motivated by delight
Traditionally salespeople used to follow the steps of delivering commitments, driving consumption, exceeding customer expectation, earn the permission to sell & expand the commercial relationship. But this approach focused more on preventing the loss instead of promoting the growth. B2B sales executives should be equipped to satisfy customer expectations for retention but they should also keep in mind of the amount of time & effort that will be wasted on exceeding those exceptions. Today, B2B sales personnel should focus more of their activities on increasing the likelihood of the growth.
- Rise of the millennials
There has been a dramatic shift in the B2B demographic over the past few years primarily because the millennial generation has started to rise up 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, then you don’t have any strategy only.
- Video content for business
Online videos is 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 & researchers are watching videos throughout their stages for successful purchase decisions. But still many B2B sales personnel ignore the magic of online video marketing. Bonus: WIN THE B2B SALES WAR WITH VIDEO PROSPECTING
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B2B Sales Is Dynamically Evolving
The growing technological advancements and the emerging marketing platforms are transforming the B2B sales process continuously. As marketers and business leaders, the entire business fraternity needs to keep track of the ever evolving B2B sales cycle, adopt the new methods, improve the old ones and in the process learn the art of successful marketing and sales to win lucrative deals that culminate in larger profits than ever before! Also: HOW QUALITY DATA HELPS IN B2B SALES CYCLE & SUPER COOL B2B SALES STRATEGY – 2018 TRENDS AND TIPS Metadescription: It’s been dramatic in the world of B2B for the past 10 years. Organizations around the world are adapting to the dynamics of the modern sales path. But multiple b2b marketers still try to view it in the old ways. Read on to know what marketers should know about modern B2B sales.