An evolving digital sales process warrants a new approach to B2B selling.
With so many touch points now in the digital B2B sales process, the sales cycle has become an even longer journey. Full of barriers and external threats (like the current Covid-19 pandemic) that make selling more difficult. Especially where we lack the events or opportunities we used to have for face-to-face meetings and now must focus on developing a digital sales process.
That means each contact with a sales prospect is critical, as leads have become even more difficult to generate. And when you are in a sales conversation one of the biggest challenges is how to you get your product to stand out. Especially today with so much pressure on costs, it’s a temptation to always fall back on lowering prices. Which is a difficult mountain to climb when you need to raise them again if market conditions improve.
The most important lesson to learn is that it is so much more difficult now to directly reach out to buyers. So, you need to adopt a strategy using a digital sales process that keeps buyers interested by being able to show them your product’s true customer value.
Read more about how to form your own digital sales process, read our blog: The clock is ticking on shifting to a digital B2B sales strategy.
Why is the sales cycle becoming more complex?
- Company budgets are tighter so money needs to go further.
- Fear of making a bad decision by those involved.
- Buyers have more options to choose from.
- More stakeholders involved so different agendas to address.
- Reaching a consensus is a challenge with so many more people involved.
- Customers want to interact differently, so you cannot reach them all in the same way.
- The unavoidable shift to doing business remotely, adopting aa digital sales process.
According to a SiriusDecisions Study on B2B Buyer Behaviour - "Up to 67 per cent of the buyer’s journey now occurs digitally, shortening the actual time for sales engagement."
Trying to lead an uncertain customer through the sales funnel, typically ends up with a failure, in either a delayed or defeated selling process. Wasting your time and effort on a sales approach that does not bear fruit. Prematurely presenting a solution to a customer who does not identify with the values your product brings is a recipe for disaster. All too often, sales will define product values in vague terms that fail to really connect with motivated buyers.
Connecting with a buyer’s needs.
The problem with vague promises and a “show me the money” attitude from the old way of selling is that this has not kept pace with how buyer behaviour has evolved. Especially in light of recent changes in 2020 and how buyers want to interact now through a digital sales process.
Many companies today still sit in a static selling mode. To them a sales meeting is the perfect opportunity to get out the trusted “sales presentations”. And through “death by PowerPoint” produce slide after slide of generic content that does not fit the needs of the customer.
Customers are demanding more information to be able to assess a product’s values and contribution. But, rather than sales spending time on overwhelming spreadsheets, organizations must reinvent and transform digitally how they sell and communicate.
The internet has changed pretty much most things in our life today, and it has also played a role in turning the buyer-seller relationship completely upside down.
To learn more about how to work with a remote audience read out blog: How to adjust your B2B sales strategy for a remote audience.
Digital sales strategy.
Today, the information that buyers need to make a purchase decision is just one click away. The power in the buying and selling process has shifted from the seller to the buyer, as the world of selling has transformed digitally. But, not all businesses have kept pace with this change in digital behavior, they still think that it is “buyer beware”. That as the seller you are driving the conversation on your terms in the traditional ways of selling.
There is a big challenge to shift this sales mindset from a “me focus” to a “buyer-centric” one. In today’s market, the buyer has already progressed considerably along the buyers journey using digital resources. Through their own self-research and tapping recommendations from their peers and colleagues. Buyers now control the sales conversation before, during and after sales, so we need to employ a digital strategy to stay in the game.
A seller’s “Point Of View”.
Whereas some businesses may still be in the habit of viewing their prospects as numbers in the sales funnel, the newly empowered buyer can see through this. Companies have started to look at how they can enable and adopt a more progressive digital sales process. Matching the digital transformation that buyers are fueling.
Digital enablement means shifting focus to advising buyers on how your product can add value. Visualizing the investment value for products and services, that builds trust through its transparency. In general, B2B buyers do not have available all the details they may need to make a complex purchase. So, there will always be a need to have some form of direct sales contact. Especially for buyers in complicated sales processes where establishing investment value can be a complex task, such as technology, industrial products, energy production and transformation, etc.
But pushing a prospect prematurely along the sales process will typically end in a missed opportunity. The buyer may not be ready or just not a good fit. Or if sales feel they are losing a sale, you resort to talking up product features important to you with no intrinsic value to the buyer. Or worst of all, focus on price and fall into the commodity trap.
When you are selling, don’t forget what it’s like to buy.
Just because the tables are turned and you are selling now – don’t forget your own experiences of making a purchase. If you cast your mind back to the last time you had a positive buying experience, you probably felt the sales person really understood your needs. And put your needs first – rather than their own.
Instead of pitching, aim to offer advice. Don’t be thinking about how you can get the prospect to buy. Instead think about the ways in which you can show big picture benefits of ROI, TCO and Life Cycle Cost (LCC). Try to understand from your contact the typical obstacles they face, and where they would need help.
Always start with questions that try to develop an understanding of where the business is at, it’s challenges and goals at a strategic level. A positive rapport will open up more sales opportunities when you think like a buyer.
Value selling can transform a complex B2B sales process - read more.
Changing "all about me" to a buyer-centric mindset.
- Use your expertise, knowledge and experience as a way to educate prospects so they can self-qualify for you.
- Focus on value by allowing your customer to calculate the benefits of a given offer building trust through transparency along the B2B sales journey.
- Set up workflows to ensure that you work on the best opportunities, and that you’re not missing out on any others.
- Become a trusted "expert" by sharing insights and offering advice through value selling.
- Learn how to recognise when prospects are open to engage and understand from a buyer's persona in what way a customer prefers to interact.
- Think of sales as relationship building, people rather than decision makers and offering advice rather than closing a sale.
The more that you can understand a buyer's perspective the more likely you will be able to provide the right advice at the right time. By keeping an ongoing and engaged dialogue with prospects it will keep your business "front of mind".
The changing B2B buying experience.
Sales teams need to work out how to communicate their product's true customer value. To reinvent how they sell, to reinforce the value to buyers of their products and services. It is at this stage of the sales journey that sellers are most effective when supported by a sales enablement platform. Able to create a buying experience that focuses on the total value they bring rather than price.
Now, it’s becoming more and more important for sales teams to put the needs of their buyers foremost. The ValueVisualizer® is an interactive web-app that visualizes investment value for products and services. We create customized digital solutions to visualize product values that are difficult to calculate, enabling a sales team to qualify product values more effectively.
If you want to hear more about ValueVisualizer® or to hear how we can help you re-invent how to work remotely with complex value calculations, don't hesitate to book a Free Consultation: firstname.lastname@example.org