Sales people need to change the way they engage or become irrelevant

B2B sales is changing.

The fact that the sales dynamic is changing is not news.  The last decade has seen a gradual shift in the balance of power from salesperson to buyer, and the pandemic of the last two years has only accelerated this. Buyers are now so much more informed and to some extent see salespeople simply as order takers rather than efficient sources of insight and value. 

This article in the Harvard Business Review by Brent Adamson is a must read for anyone trying to drive opportunity and revenue in the B2B world. 

I think sales methodologies like “Challenger” try to turn this around by driving sales people to truly advise and even challenge customer thinking. However, sales people need to up their game, and ensure they are adding value to the customer.  This will increase the chances of customers choosing to give them more face time.

Agent3’s Chief Revenue Officer, Paul Mackender, recently spoke to Lindsey Armstrong about this very topic. Lindsey is a highly successful business leader who has held various senior sales, business strategy and executive leadership roles in organizations including Oracle, Veritas, Symantec, Salesforce, XANT (previously InsideSales) and Bluewolf.

They discussed the impact of the pandemic on buyer’s cycles and sales infrastructure, and delved into what the role of the newly emerging sales person could look like. Some really great insights came out of that conversation.

The sales process feels broken

I have certainly experienced this myself as a buyer of both B2B and B2C products and services. My last car purchase is the perfect example. I researched the car manufacturer’s website, I looked at detailed reviews on Top Gear and What Car and I looked at prices across different dealerships.  I configured the car I wanted using the on-line configurator on their website. I knew exactly what I wanted without speaking to a sales person. I went to the showroom simply to order the car. The car salesman tried to upsell me a load of extras, even ones included in the package I specified. He added no value to the sales process, he was too late to the game. Why? He played no role in my digital journey, which is how I wanted to research and potentially buy the car, and therefore had no time to influence or educate me on other options which could have benefited me and him ($$). Here is the crazy thing: his marketing colleagues could see my customer/buying journey – ie: behavior on their website/digital footprint – but never allowed sales into that journey.

This is happening in B2B sales

The same thing is happening in the B2B tech world. Account-Based Marketing (ABM) goes a long way to driving better sales and marketing synchronization, and at Agent3 we are constantly pushing that alignment to happen all the way through the buying cycle and beyond into advocacy. 

Sales people need new ways to engage with customers

This is why we are so excited to see what our partners at savvi are working on. With savvi, teams selling and buying technology solutions have a single platform to share, access and collaborate on information which drives B2B transactions. 

We know buyers want to digitally self-serve, but on the other hand we also know sales organizations are crying out for more face time with customers. Savvi has the potential to enable sellers to play a direct role in that digital buying experience by being able to, in effect, fire up a digital interaction journey with a prospect as easily as sending an email. Buyers can interact with a smart human digital experience where sellers can help educate and inform customers without wasting time on calls and meeting face to face. From this point on, the process is as collaborative as using Slack but entirely focused around making that buyer-seller interaction efficient and rewarding on both sides.

And marketing?  Well, they get granular insight on how their content is helping prospects and clients so they can tune their messaging to drive greater value. Ultimately this process can run through the lifecycle of the purchase all the way to signing contracts. When this becomes business as usual there will be plenty of insight on what really is happening in the sales process as the buyer journey becomes truly visible. No more blackouts.

Join the sales process revolution!

I am a beta user of savvi. It is early days but I have to say I am increasingly turning to savvi as opposed to email to drive customer conversations forward. Instead of creating email, adding attachments and waiting, I am creating a savvi board, cutting a video message to my customer or prospect, dragging in content, personalising the messaging around it, and sharing these boards. I am seeing buyers share the boards with colleagues, and the picture is unravelling. It is early days, but I can see where this is going. More interaction than before with customers, as I am now part of their digital research journey.  Unlike my competitors.

Want to give it a go?

If you think you could get value from savvi you can sign up for beta access on their website www.savvi.co

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