[I must admit I do enjoy writing an audacious headline once in a while.]
Surely not everything you know about B2B sales is wrong, but what if there have been some significant shifts within certain aspects of B2B you don’t know about yet?
That just may be the case.
Senior Lecturer at Harvard Business School and author Frank V. Cespedes and Research Vice President and distinguished analyst at Gartner Tiffani Bova (@fvcespedes and @tiffani_bova for @HarvardBiz) penned a new article for Harvard Business Review that truly is a must-read for anyone connected to the B2B marketplace.
It’s titled: “What Salespeople Need to Know About the New B2B Landscape.”It’s essentially a primer on the B2B sales industry as it stands today.
There’s so much this article covers regarding the current/new B2B landscape that I need to say here, from the top, that the handful of highlights I’ll give you now will not do this resource justice. You really need to read this information for yourself.
With that said, here are just a few of the highlights that caught my attention…
The reader is initially hit with a dose of reality:
“Selling has always been more about the buyer than the seller. So any effective sales model must adapt to changing buying protocols, not ignore or resist them. This is a big transition for firms whose marketing, sales-training and enablement tools, and wider organizational processes reflect outdated assumptions about purchasing in their markets.”
Is your sales organization adapting to these changing? If so, upon what information are you basing your changes?
The authors then drop this research-backed nugget into the mix, causing some of you to shudder because your sales approach doesn’t account for this critical change in today’s B2B marketplace:
“Rather than moving sequentially through a funnel, buyers actually work through four parallel streams to make a purchase decision.”
The article then clearly defines each of those parallel streams. [Don’t miss those.]
This chart, from their research, helps us better understand what our peers believe are the most [and least] influential B2B marketing activities:
We’re given a moment of relief when the authors state:
“Sales people have not been replaced by digital, and providing relevant solutions remains key in most B2B buying scenarios.”
Here’s one final highlight to consider:
“Going forward, many B2B sellers will need to reconfigure their selling processes more effectively and efficiently for each buying stream. They should not waste lots of time and energy debating whether to be online or in-person, interacting via the web or through sales reps, digital or human. They need to do both, and create the right mix for their go-to-market programs.”
There’s so much more to this article. I’ve merely skimmed the surface.
I highly encourage you to both read the article yourself and to pass it along to your colleagues and management. It comes from rock solid sources and it must to be considered as you and your organization plan your future and perhaps adjust your present approach to B2B sales.
[Reading Time For This Article: 7:30]
QUESTION: After you read this article, what jumps up at you most?
Let’s talk about it…