It’s back to school again and summer is over. For most sales reps in this modern era of “selling” can feel like they have taken on the role of a teaching professional.
Except the students are becoming exceptionally informed – and have gathered significant amount of knowledge even before they walk into the classroom. One can make a strong parallel between these students and the evolving “self-educated” buyer within the B2B market.
In recent years there has been a sea change in the B2B market with the emergence of the “self-educated” buyer. Who are these well-informed individuals armed with a wealth of information?
Jill Rowley – a leading marketing guru states that these “self-educated” buyers are:
- Well informed and digitally driven
- Socially connected with peer-based social networks
- Mobile and empowered
- Very knowledgeable and demand first-class service
More interesting facts:
- A recent study by the Corporate Executive Board reported that B2B buyers are 57% of the way to a buying decision before they are willing to talk to a sales rep
- A survey last year by DemandGen Report, reported that 77% of B2B buyers said they did not talk with a sales rep until after they had performed independent research
- 36% of buyers said they didn’t engage with a sales rep until after a short list of preferred vendors was established
Is it surprising they know so much about the products and services your company offers? According to another DemandGen Report – DemandGen found that B2B Buyers look a whole lot like consumers favouring web search and vendor web sites for their research.
So are sales reps becoming redundant considering buyers are gathering loads of information – of course not. The fundamental approach though has changed and sales reps need to challenge and engage them in order to provide value in the decision making process.
Gabriel Padva Founder at 30,000 FT strategies – recently presented this insight at Inside Sales Virtual Summit for the Modern B2B Buyer:
In order to provide value in the industry – educate on industry issues. Put yourself in your ideal client’s shoes.
- What frustrates you most about this industry?
- If a best friend were to buy a service or product like yours – what would you warn them to look out for?
- How could the industry be improved?
- How are you or could you solve these?
Once these questions are answered, then Gabriel recommended you go to:
- Features: how do you solve this?
- Benefits: what does this mean for the prospect?
- Examples: what stories, analogies and visuals can you use to get your point across?
To that extent, your CRM implementation and your “sales funnel steps” in the implementation need to incorporate the answers to the questions stated above.
Do the steps in your CRM sales methodology incorporate:
- Sales reps educating your prospects on the industry
- Sales reps educating your prospects on how to avoid potential pitfalls
- Bring process improvements to the industry
- Solving issues for the clients they didn’t even know they had
The sales steps in the funnel need to provide answers to the frustrations around the industry including warnings and guidance that can be given to customers.
To summarise, there’s no doubt that engaging with the modern B2B buyer has changed. What remains key is that sales must plan for how we can best engage with them and provide relevance for them.
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