The eruption of technological innovations has resulted in significantly evolved business-to-business (B2B) buyers. With instant access to information, B2B buyers are more educated and informed. Many of them now start their buying process by conducting research online before connecting with a salesperson.
Which this dramatic shift in buying behavior, traditional selling tactics are becoming increasingly less effective in today’s digitally-enabled environment. B2B sellers that are embracing evolved selling, and customizing their selling strategies with the aid of innovative technologies, and setting themselves up for success.
According to Forrester Consulting, “Buyers favor sellers that demonstrate a deep understanding of their company’s business needs and create dynamic, interactive experiences throughout the sales process.”
In conducting their research, Forrester Consulting compared three seller segments (Static, Transitional and Evolved).
- Static Sellers rely on email or content storage, such as cloud-based sharing tools, corporate folders or intranet sites to prepare sales presentations.
- Transitional Sellers use modern technologies including sales content apps to prepare sales presentations.
- Evolved Sellers engage with a prospective buyer in a way that is inspired, informed, interactive and intelligent by doing the following:
- Making use of the latest technologies like sales content apps to prepare and present sales presentations on any device.
- Compile relevant content in their selling platform to focus sales conversations on what is most relevant to the prospect.
- Use interactive sales tools such as calculators and comparison tools during a sales interaction, to get the prospect’s input and deliver insights in real time.
- Leverage third-party data to present customized key insights about the buyer’s unique business challenges.
- Integrate various solutions with a CRM system to analyze and interpret data in order to gain a deeper understanding of a prospect or customer’s specific needs and wants.
Evolved Selling Influences Buying Decisions
To gain a better understanding of how using evolved selling had had an impact on buyers’ perceptions and behaviors, Forrester Consulting conducted in-depth surveys in 2016 with 152 business buyers at medium-, large- and enterprise-scale companies in the US.
Below are key findings of their research:
- Evolved selling accelerates deal velocity.
Forrester compared the Static, Transitional and Evolved seller segments and found that Evolved Sellers are highly successful in closing deals. “Evolved Sellers closed 1.3 to 1.8 more deals on average than Transitional and Static Sellers, respectively.”
- Evolved selling increases cross-sell transactions.
Forrester’s survey revealed that nearly half of business buyers (44%) that recently purchased from Evolved Sellers said their organization purchased additional products or services that were not originally in scope.
- Evolved selling drives repeat business and customer advocacy.
Business buyers that recently purchased from Evolved Sellers are 82% more likely to consider that company for other business opportunities, compared with buyers that purchased from non-evolved sellers.
- Evolved selling is available to sellers of all skill levels.
In an increasingly challenging marketplace, B2B sellers can benefit from an easy-to-use platform for presenting dynamic, engaging content. Four out of five (81%) consider easy-to-use solutions critical to their success.
Forrester’s analysis also revealed that “only 28% of today’s B2B sellers use an evolved approach to in-person selling.”
Forrester’s Key Recommendations
Forrester’s surveys with business buyers and B2B sellers brought to light a number of fundamental observations for B2B sellers to consider and act on:
- Remove barriers to success for your salespeople.
Salespeople spend too much time rifling through emails and searching for information needed to prepare sales presentations. Employ technology solutions to reduce the time spent on these tasks so sellers can focus on activities such as understanding their prospects’ individual needs and creating a unique and dynamic sales presentation for each buyer. Save time and increase your sales teams productivity by using IoT Pulse. Commercient’s innovative tool to connect your ERP with more than 1,100 internet apps and automate daily tasks such as sending out emails to customers.
- Accept that the linear-based sales presentation is antiquated.
Using presentation techniques that are static and linear is no longer efficient and will result in unresponsive buyers. Arm your sales team with the knowledge they need to conduct informed, fact-based discussions based on their prospects requirements.
- Show buyers something relevant and new.
Forrester’s research shows that “74% of the time, B2B buyers purchase from the first sellers to create a clear path to value.” Give your sales team that competitive edge by putting in place an evolved selling platform that provides easy access to the tools and information needed to present a solution that demonstrates value to a prospect.
- Keep it interactive.
B2B sellers need to personalize their approach by using technology such as comparison tools, calculators and videos to keep buyers engaged and reveal insights they have not uncovered on their own.
- Adopt an evolved selling platform for your sales team.
Consider implementing a front-office solution such as a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. A CRM system will give your sales team the ability to engage with prospects and customers more efficiently, improve collaboration between teams and save valuable time. A powerful option for sales and marketing is an integrated CRM and ERP system to empower sales teams and engage buyers with personalized content that presents solutions to meet their specific business challenges. Commercient SYNC, the #1 data integration platform for sales, can integrate your CRM and ERP data with a one-way or two-way SYNC. Your sales team will have access to ERP information within the CRM such as customer data, sales history, invoices, serial numbers, terms, and much more.
Advancements in technology have transformed B2B buyers into self-directed, informed buyers. To keep up with their ever-changing preferences, B2B sellers need to revisit their selling techniques.
Embrace Evolved Selling by putting in place innovative tools to allow your sales team to stay ahead and to ensure your business remains relevant in this increasingly challenging marketplace.
If you’d like to learn more about how Commercient SYNC can help your business and sales, please contact us today.
About the Author
Anna Kinnear is a Sage Financials Consultant at Edgeware, and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting Science from the University of South Africa. She has always had a passion for reading and writing.