Gartner has done recently number of research on buying trends. In this three part blog series, I draw conclusions from a few B2B sales-themed articles published by Gartner that I read recently. They addressed the key trends in B2B sales today and how B2B sales has changed last couple of years and will change in future.
According to Gartner, the new generation of buyers, millennials, buy with data. This is important fact to consider because 50% of B2B buyers today already belong to the millennials generation (born around 1978-1995, the definition of years of birth varies) and the number of buyers of this generation is naturally growing. My idea in these three blogs is to highlight a few key points from Gartner’s materials and suggest possible solutions to them.
Links to Gartner articles are at the end of this post.
Enjoy your reading! Thanks, Tuomas
P.S. We can continue the discussion on this topic in any media or collaboration tool, please just contact me from here!
Blog part 2: How do you support the customer’s complex purchasing process? What can a salesperson to do for customer to support buying in a B2B business in the 2020s?
Today, it is not enough to get approval to buy from business management. There are many different stakeholders involved in purchasing today. Addition to business lines, the corporate finance and procurement departments are often involved in the process, also people responsible for quality and safety. The procurement team consists of several different roles and the organization can be scattered in several different places of the buyer organization globally. According to Gartner, buying has been made very difficult in an organization, even so that buying processes are perceived as significantly hindering new investment, and thus, at worst, preventing the growth of companies.
In a such situation, consistent and easily accessible information on the solutions to be procured can facilitate the buyer’s work. For you as a salesperson, it is important to make sure that the purchasing is as simple as possible for the customer and is based on up-to-date information that is as easily accessible as possible and meets the needs of the buyer.
The information must also be able to deliver to the customer’s purchasing process against the need. The customer needs technical information about the solutions, and for example, information related to the supplier at a different stage of the purchasing process. Sharing the right information with the customer should be as easy as possible.
With digital sales tools, you share information in real time and ensure its easy access. At the same time, with digital solutions, you ensure that any updates to the information related to your solution can be efficiently distributed to the entire set of recipients.
B2B buying is a discontinuous process
A lot of information is available today. According to a Gartner survey, 88% of B2B buyers feel that they have received top-quality information during the purchasing process. However, only 25% of buyers say that the top quality information obtained led to the actual purchase, which the buyer are completely satisfied with. Buyers feel they are receiving a lot of well-founded information, which, however, is contradictory to their satisfaction on made decisions based on that information. Buyers see that they need a lot of consultation help to handle information so that buyers can best find the solution that works best for them. According to a Gartner study, high-quality information production to the customer leads to up to 4.5 times higher probability of a positive purchase decision by the buyer.
Currently, the buyer takes a lot of time to gather and go through the information. The amount of information also makes current purchasing processes much more complex, and buying takes much longer in the past. The buyer’s path can wander erratically and the buyer returns a lot of time as well as resources to make the purchase.
An intelligent sales channel can provide quality information to the customer in a relevant and easy way. First, a digital sales channel can map out the right information about a customer’s need. Against this well-understood need, the supplier is able to deliver information on the right solutions, through an intelligent sales channel, even automatically if wanted.
A well thought out sales process can be modeled smoothly into a smart digital sales channel. This, of course, requires the use of a flexible sales application so that it can then really be adapted to truly fit into the company’s sales process. The intelligent digital sales channel enables the smooth adjustment of the sales process so that the company can provide the customer a service in the best possible way digitally and in person.
So how do you best help your customer:
- The purchasing process is complex for the customer – think about how you can best facilitate the customer’s purchasing process with an intelligent digital process combined with a channel and personal service
- The purchasing process does not proceed in a systematic queuing model – think about what content you want to produce for the customer to support the purchasing process and in what way. Note that in the 2020s, digital marketing and sales must be considered as integrated functions, they just cannot be separated!
- The buyer wants just the right information at the right time – Think about how you deliver and interpret the information to the customer so that it genuinely supports the buying process.
Blog part 1: The new generation of buyers do not trust the salespeople but want to acquire and analyze the information related to the investment / purchasing by themselves. How can a company support buying in a B2B business in the 2020s?
Blog part 3: Buyers are looking for service from several sources – How do you serve best as a salesperson when your customer is buying?
Links to Gartner materials referenced in this article: