Expanding the relationship with existing clients is a priority for all organisations. It is cheaper and easier to sell to someone who already knows your company and the products and services you offer than to those who don’t. However, existing clients can only take you so far.
In the world of B2B sales, if your organisation’s growth aspirations demand that you acquire new clients, how do you do that in a crowded marketplace where your competitors’ products, services and prices are similar to yours? The answer is by embedding a branded sales experience into your company’s DNA. A way of selling that becomes a hallmark of the way your organisation does business and sets you and your company apart.
Winning new business is tough at the best of times. B2B brands can’t rely on the same old tired sales techniques. The pipeline will just dry up. Customer behaviour, sales roles and processes have changed. Covid and remote working have only accelerated changes that were becoming entrenched long before the crisis broke. The tide has turned. Let’s explore the reasons why the world has changed by starting with the changes that have impacted buyers.
Buyers have taken control
Buyers have changed their behaviour, moved online and taken control. As HubSpot reports, buyers are less likely to want to talk to suppliers upstream of their buying decision, preferring to undertake their own due diligence and only then do they talk to potential suppliers at the shortlist/decision stage. Even before buyers arrive on your sales teams’ radar – perceptions about your brand are being formed and decisions on suppliers are being taken. Buyer journeys are no longer easy or linear. Your prospects will be criss-crossing different touchpoints, clutching content and information about your brand, products and services.
For complex B2B solutions as many 10 decision makers, each armed with their own research and opinions, gather around the table to come together as a buying group. Making a purchase can be fraught with difficulty. Investing in the sales experience will make the decision to choose your business that much easier.
Customers have their hands on the levers
“You need to be in the room to seal the deal”
This kind of axiom has been used to help sales teams win more business for years. But what happens when the room is now virtual? Online migration means customers have their hands on the levers. Digitisation and the big shift to home working also means that the role of the salesperson has changed beyond recognition. Smart sales teams are learning how to adapt the way they sell to customers.
B2B brands in buying or renewal mode have always been diligent online researchers. Google reports that 89% of B2B researchers use the internet and they tend to run 12 different searches before they arrive on a website. Digital journeys start before they interact with your brand. You need to get content in front of buyers that answers search queries. Buyers are also online seeking recommendations from their social networks and peers in their sector.
They are looking for self-serve options beyond standardised, off-the-peg products. SaaS providers have been doing this for years. Forward-thinking brands are investing in intelligent pricing and product configurations to offer self-serve options for more complex solutions and service contracts. Customers that can sign up online for products and services with minimal interaction takes some of the heat out of some of the need for human interaction. But, self-serve will never the replace the need for human interaction because people buy from people.