Traditionally, sales leaders are evaluated on how well their team sells and how accurate their forecast is. But today, B2B relationships are going through a fundamental transformation (accelerated by remote working), that necessitates an effective revenue generation strategy to adopt a broader set of parameters that are more inclusive of their buyers.
Just like B2B SaaS vendors target the benefits of land-retain- expand, B2B buyers are also doubling down on SaaS models as a way to crawl-walk-run into any B2B partnership. Although this might sound like commonplace business knowledge, you’ll be surprised that most companies continue to look at their sales motion and forecasting process in absolute isolation from their buyers’ journey. In fact, as per research by Gartner, companies who make it extremely easy to buy from them have a 2x higher chance of winning the customer.
Over the last 12 to 18 months, we interviewed hundreds of sales leaders and their buyers, across F500 and growth companies, to learn about their current challenges in B2B buying and its impact on selling. One thing emerged very quickly – the experience you provide to your buyers is the most significant differentiator that you as a B2B sales leader can bring into the mix today in order to drive predictable growth and profitability.
This demand for a superior buyer experience is forcing modern CROs to rethink sales methodologies, processes, and the customer engagement playbook with their buyers and their priorities at the center.
Through the BuyerAssist platform, we are bringing a radically new approach to buyer engagement - one that enables B2B revenue organizations to always be in sync with their buyers. This new approach empowers revenue teams to methodically center all their efforts around their buyer stakeholders’ priorities, by aligning with them on a mutually identified set of desired outcomes, milestone-based plan to get there, and collaboratively delivering the most differentiated, value-adding interactions throughout this journey.
Buyer Engagement Platform (BEP) powers a new approach of selling that puts the customers’ buying priorities, goals, and milestones at the center of how revenue teams deliver a better, faster, and more personalized experience to its buyers. It enables you to provide your buyers with a single, integrated, collaborative engagement interface throughout their journey with you. This helps create a more transparent, outcome-oriented relationship with your buyers, driving mutual accountability and milestone-based approach in B2B seller-buyer relationships. Done right, this will elevate the role of your revenue teams for their buyers, from being an information provider to one that delivers insights that help accelerate value discovery and realization. BEP integrates closely with CRM, email, internal collaboration tools, and revenue intelligence systems.
BEP upgrades your customer engagement playbook by giving you total visibility into how your buyers are evaluating, buying, and realizing value from your products; understand what is important to them and what is not. With BEP, every new buyer interaction is powered by insights from every single conversation you have had with your buyers up until now.
Buyer engagement matters for several reasons:
Saasification of B2B products and services has empowered modern buyers to take a more methodical approach to crawl-walk-run into these partnerships. This gives them the power to exit the relationship at any time and switching cost is quite low as well. Even your successful customers are openly exploring your competition to see if they have something new and more value-adding. The relaxed and assured relationship with your customers is being replaced with the familiar edge-of-the-seat relationship with buyers during sales cycles.
We found some interesting patterns when we interviewed hundreds of sales leaders in F500 and growth companies:
1) Almost all of them have their sales teams focused on “contract signed” although they all agree that it’s only one (in fact, just the first) of the milestones to making their buyers’ successful
2) Almost all of them struggle with the hand-off of a relationship from sales to post-sales – primarily because the cast and characters on both sides are likely to change, and “what we sold and what they are using” are almost always very different.
3) Almost all of them find the renewal conversations to be a daunting exercise because there is no clear goal that was established in the beginning which means there are really no success metrics to show and/or the key people on their side have changed meaning the renewal discussion just became another competitive ‘land pursuit’.
4) Almost all of them agreed that they continue to run into EOQ surprises despite hiring premium sales talent and spending millions on technologies and content to enable them.
5) Almost all of them told us that they are not able to make their sellers cultivate the behavior to accurately and promptly update CRM fields like Next Steps and the multiple fields tied to understand steps between now and the contract signed.
What is the consequence? As per research by Gartner, 4 out of 10 purchase attempts end in no-decision.
But why is this the case? Why are certainly proven playbooks falling short of expectations? Why are some of the previously successful salespeople finding it more difficult to succeed now?
The answer is one that revenue leaders have typically overlooked, but is becoming increasingly relevant and contributory to their success or failure — the Buyers' Journey.
The sales process is planned with the seller at the center and concludes after the contract is signed. However, in the realm of land-expand-retain, the majority of revenue comes from expansion and growth. Sales leaders must fundamentally rethink how they engage buyers and deliver value in their pursuit of revenue and growth. This calls for a new approach to selling where sales, marketing, and customer success work closer than ever before to deliver an integrated buyer experience that focuses on the buyer and their priorities.
Analyst firms like Gartner, Forrester, IDC, etc are spending a lot of research time to understand the new class of B2B buyers, the challenges they face in the buying journey, and how vendors need to adapt to the change.
B2B buyers are asking for help
As per Gartner research, 77% of B2B buyers state the latest purchase to be very complex or difficult, and in fact, 4 in 10 purchase attempts end in no-decision
and are willing to pay a premium for a better experience
As per Salesforce.com research, 82% of customers are willing to pay more for a great experience
which means you can make more revenue, faster
As per Deloitte research, buyers are 34% more likely to buy and 32% more likely to renew a contract with B2B- leading suppliers that master customer experience
In many ways, winning in today’s new world order is about how easy you make it for buyers to buy from you. While investments in sales enablement have had some impact on this, it is at best work around to solving the buyers’ challenges. To truly win the modern buyer, revenue organizations need to break the silos of sales, marketing, and customer success and rethink their customer engagement playbook around the buying journey.
Our next blog talks about how your new world will look with a digitized buyer journey engagement platform.
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