Buyers Are On Their Own Journey - But Sales Can Still Pull The Strings

Partner Content

Here’s something you won’t hear many people, if any, say this year: Sales, your job may have just got easier.

Really? Hear me out.

The fact buyers are now doing it all themselves is often cited as a reason closing deals has become more challenging. But it also means there’s less need to chase them. Wine and dine them. Guide them through the stages.

That’s time, and budget, back, and if properly utilised can help sales and marketing teams level the playing field.

There’s no getting around it – buyers have broken up with sales. Don’t want to hear from you. Please. Stop. Calling!

Seventy percent of the buyer process is complete before they even consider engaging with sales, and when they do, they want to invest just 5 percent of their time doing the deal.

Traditional B2B sales techniques work, well, did work. But, while we all worked from home buyers re-invented their journey, found the self-service checkout, and checked out from a tried-and-true system which smoothed the way to conversion and made being a salesperson fun.

The upside, and there’s no point considering anything else, is that if buyers don’t want to take the lead from sales, then sales can spend that extra time positioning themselves to close - analysing the market, anticipating needs, and executing with precision. By re-writing the playbook sales can re-align themselves with a journey that left them behind.

And there’s no other choice, because CFO’s don’t weigh evolutions of process and economic conditions against ROI, and targets seldom reflect budgets given to achieve them. This is the new normal; excuses at the door.

Engage Buyers Earlier To Avoid Them Avoiding Your Solution

Dynamic companies are combating this change by integrating digital marketing strategies that align with the modern buyer’s journey. Content Syndication (CS) and data-driven display advertising are particularly effective.

CS does a lot of the heavy-lifting, distributing valuable, relevant assets across a range of platforms and channels, to reach potential buyers wherever they’re researching. When combined with data-driven display ads – targeting specific demographics and behaviours – companies can engage buyers much earlier in their buying process.

This tactic not only boosts brand awareness, and credibility if assets feature on respected websites, but also guides prospects through the funnel in a more organic, non-intrusive way.

A Pipeline Of Problems Requires A Teamwork Solution

The future of B2B sales will be shaped by these demand generation strategies but it will take teamwork to unlock success, as buyers have come to expect a seamless, intuitive, B2C experience that requires a one for all, all for one approach from sales and marketing. You may remember late last year LinkedIn revealed just 16% of B2B teams are aligned.

While sales need to change their MO, so do marketing, who are facing increasing challenges meeting pipeline goals, compounding the conversion problem.

A recent Pipeline360 survey, ‘The State of B2B Pipeline Growth’, found that 80% of B2B marketers reported getting qualified leads is mission critical or an urgent priority, yet 1 out of 2, can’t reach their pipeline targets.

Moving forward, digital tools and platforms that facilitate this alignment, from CRM systems that offer real-time insights into buyer behaviour to AI-driven analytics that predict buying patterns and preferences, will play a significant role.

Sales Will Become About Timing, Not Being A Tour Guide

The change in buying behaviour means the role of the sales rep has to evolve. Rather than reaching out and guiding buyers through the sales process, teams will need to embrace going hands-free and use that space to ensure that they are perfectly positioned, and prepared, to step in at the optimal moment.

Deals will be signed when sales can offer personalised, value-added insights that build-on and compliment research buyers have already done. This consultative approach will require an intimate understanding of the buyers’ business, challenges, and the solutions needed for success.

Sales, it's time to dig into the data. Marketing, it's time to share it.

Times Are A Changin’, But That Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Demand The Same Results

Digital has irrevocably changed the B2B buying process, but by embracing digital demand generation, particularly through CS and data-led advertising, companies can adapt, repair what’s broken, and thrive.

The future of B2B sales will be more integrated, digital, and aligned with the buyers’ journey than ever before and the teams that adapt, and innovate, will reap the rewards.

Now is the perfect time for teams to do a process Spring Clean and show buyers they still need you.