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 3: Buyers are looking for service from several sources – How do you serve best as a salesperson when your customer is buying?
Buyers are not interested in where their service or information comes from, as long as they feel it is of good quality.
Buyers have learned to buy solutions and obtain even accurate product information online from modern e-commerce services. Buyers have adopted consumer-like buying habits and expect the B2B buying process to have the same opportunities to obtain information.
Having sales through the digital web channel, you can reach more information seekers than with traditional methods. Online information is also available at all times and you can take advantage of the same high quality content both buyer in its procurement activities and seller in its sales proposal work. Your business can be easily accessed and you are able to answer customer questions smoothly and correctly with ease. You can conveniently support the online information sharing to customers with a digital customer service process that utilizes, for example, intelligent chatbot solutions.
The importance of salesperson activity has not disappeared, but today sales need to be even more proactive in guiding the buyer into the right direction in the buying process, dispelling fears about buying the unknown and strengthening understanding of the benefits of buying. The digital service channel supports the sales communication with the customer alongside other channels and means of contact.
Successful digital marketing reaches a lot of new potential buyers and offers the best possible way to make a business visible and acknowledged in new markets. In general, digital marketing today better supports the work of sales in both new sales and repurchases with existing clients.
Smart digital tools increase customer satisfaction because the customer feels getting better service, as long services and solutions information is easily available online. In fact, the customer perceives readily available information as a good service as it helps customer with it needs and makes company easily accessible. After all, information on solutions is what helps the customer to make a better analysis of solution possibilities, plan possible implementations and make better decisions for the customer.
Best of all in customer perspective, this information is free. The selling company, on the other hand, only needs to compile the information once. After this information must be, of course, maintained. At best, some of the solution information can even be transferred from supplier databases. Thus, the only costs for selling company with digital sales channel are the creation and maintenance of the digital sales systems and the production of the sales material.
Overall this way of producing information through a digital channel is inexpensive and efficient and selling company can create assets which it can leverage in sales.
Are the digital sales channels the only right solution?
As the title of this article suggests, a new generation of buyers will make strong use of information in their purchases. They want a massive amount of quality information, want information as early as possible in the buying process, and want to obtain information independently directly online.
Digital sales channels benefit the company especially when the company is looking for new customers. Digital sales channels are needed when there are many potential and serviceable customers, and it is not possible or profitable to offer a personal service to all customers. Digital sales channels are also starting to be a necessity, as were web homepages in the past. Without a smart digital sales channel, you are not viewed modern as a company and you have not invested enough in customer service. The lack of a smart digital sales channel is starting to affect your company’s brand and buyers ’perception of the company’s lack of customer focus.
Certainly, companies with an established customer base and a certain kind of excessively personalized human-touch service strategy can do without smart digital sales channels. However, such players are in the niche market and seek a certain kind of exclusivity in the premium image of their solutions. Companies that do not have a growth strategy and are in cash-cow mode in their strategy can operate without digital sales channels. Of course, the lack of development is moving the company into a downward spiral as the company’s competitiveness deteriorates with poor customer service and an inadequate understanding of customer needs, as well as deficient sales processes.
Utilizing a digital sales channel enables real-time and high-quality information sharing efficiently, especially when compared to manual person-to-person information sharing. By making the digital sales channel intelligent, you can share with the customer exactly the information he or she needs at right time just at the right stage in the procurement process. In this case, the customer feels that the sales is genuinely providing good service, and helping the buyer to make the right purchase.
On this basis, I dare say that in order to ensure a company’s own competitiveness and growth, it is worth investing in smart digital sales tools. The digital sales channels of the 2020s technology guarantee the company’s attractiveness and the opportunity to win deals also in the eyes of the new generation of buyers.
How do you best help your customer:
- Think about what your company’s strategy and goals are – which clients you want to serve and in what way.
- Understand what information the customer feels they need to buy – contribute to knowing your customers and understanding their challenges in purchasing and create fitting information services for their need in digital customer channel.
- The buyer wants just the right service for their need – think about which channel you want to serve your customer and at what level. This way, you both get the best solution for your needs and both are happy with the customer relationship.
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 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?
Links to Gartner materials referenced in this article: