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The Sales Review

Learn about emerging best practices, strategies and insights on B2B sales today dedicated for the modern sales organization.

5 Ways To Engage The B2B Buyer's Changing Preferences [Roundup]

Posted by Julia Manoukian on Oct 13, 2017 10:09:27 AM

engage-b2b-buyer.jpgWelcome to your weekly roundup for Oct 6 - 13. This week we’re summing up insights from Forrester’s B2B Marketing & Sales Enablement summit, why the help you’re giving your reps is having the opposite effect you want it to, and a handful of social selling stats that will help you sell smarter.

B2B Buyers Are Behaving More Like Consumers Every Day—Here Are Five Ways To Engage Them

Like the B2C buyer, today’s B2B buyer controls their own destiny, and they know it. If sales and marketing teams want to earn their attention and keep it, they better listen up.

Drive account engagement with personalized outreach to land and expand  high-value accounts at scale. 

engage-b2b-buyer.png

Via Forrester

Brand experience. “Today’s customers hold B2B companies to the same high standards they have for the most admired consumer brands such as Apple and Nike,” said Georgina Forster, managing director at the digital agency Mirum.

What to do about it:

  • Reimagine your brand from your customer’s eyes, rather than what you bring to the market.
  • Inject emotion into your messaging, and recognize B2B buyers are more emotional than they’re willing to admit, making decisions every day that can change their careers.
  • First impression is everything, but don’t stop there. Ensure consistency and sophistication of your messaging throughout your customer’s lifecycle.

Sales interactions. B2B buyers choose when they want to engage with sellers, which is much later in the buying journey. And when they do interact, they expect the seller to know who they are, where they are in that process, and what their desired business goals and outcomes are.

What to do about it:

  • Make sure you meet the content discovery needs of your buyer by making your content easy to find, search and seamless to convert on. Realize bounce rate represents a significant opportunity cost, as you might never have another chance to convert that customer.
  • Consider alternatives to gated content. In a recent LinkedIn survey of B2B buying teams, 80% of Millennials, who making up more of the workforce, said they will not complete a lead generation form. If your content is not easy to access, you will lose more buyers than you win.
  • Use a data-driven approach to identify content trends and buyer preferences. IBM security, for example, found B2B buyers expected to find pricing early in their research.

Purchase influence. “G2 Crowd and Trust Radius have become the B2B equivalents of Yelp and OpenTable for technology buyers—a required step before purchase.”

What to do about it:

  • Leverage a data-driven account-based marketing strategy to prequalify targets, and prioritize the individuals with the highest predisposition to buy, as they will be the most receptive to your messaging.
  • Give them a reason to return with ad retargeting. “If your journey mapping data shows that prospects who view your pricing page and a case study are more likely to buy, connect the dots for them with an ad promoting the appropriate content after their initial visit.

Post-sale engagement. In the era of the subscription-model, B2B buyers want increased value and personalization post-sale, which will help prevent customer churn.

What to do about it:

  • Use social tactics to learn about customers and prospects.
  • Don’t be afraid to reach your buyers on consumer channels, such as Facebook, Instagram and SnapChat.
  • Enable intelligent outreach. Before a seller picks up the phone, they should know what digital breadcrumbs the buyer has been consuming, and use these insights to further personalize the outreach.

*This is a summary of The Birth of the B2B Consumer by Steven Casey.

The “Help” You’re Giving Your Reps Is Dropping Their Close Rates by 12%

It’s no secret: sales people are busier than ever. And the sales enablement function has responded by giving them more. More product support, more marketing support, more tech support, all in an effort to boost productivity and sales. But, as CEB has recently discovered, it’s having the opposite effect enablement wants it to.

“Three in four of the 2,000-plus B2B sellers said increased sales support wasn’t reducing complexity, but increasing it.” 

Think about it. How many internal touchpoints do reps need to complete to close a deal? In a large organization, when you account for email, CRM, etc. that number can easily rack up to over one thousand.

The result? “Sellers working in high burden organizations have a 12% lower conversion rate.” This is for two reasons:

  • Reps in “high-complexity” organizations sell less because they’re slowed down by the organizational inefficiencies.
  • Instead of coming to work ready to sell, reps come feeling overwhelmed by all the internal swimming they have to do just to get a deal started. This in turn negatively affects motivation.

In conclusion, a culture of adding more to sales reps jobs is actually counterproductive. Try a model of what Adamson calls “Ruthless Simplicity” to decrease seller burden and maximize productivity.

*This is a summary of The “Help” You’re Giving Your Reps Is Dropping Their Close Rates by 12% by Brent Adamson.

75 Mind-Blowing Sales Statistics That Will Help You Sell Smarter in 2017

Just 17% of salespeople think they’re pushy, compared to 50% of buyers. Only 3% of buyers trust reps. These are just some of surprising stats compiled by HubSpot’s Aja Frost. Here are our favourite as they relate to social.

  • 78% of salespeople who use social selling hit revenue goals, compared to 38% of reps who do not.
  • Four in 10 reps have recently closed two to five deals directly thanks to social media.

Check out the entire list, which has everything from what words to avoid in an email subject line to the ideal number of questions to ask during a discovery call.

*This is a summary of 75 Mind-Blowing Sales Statistics That Will Help You Sell Smarter in 2017 by Aja Frost.

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Julia Manoukian

About the Author

Julia is focused on creating, managing and producing everything content-related at Sales for Life. From product to content marketing, she is committed to constantly evolving the company's marketing strategy to exceed the demands of the ever-changing buyer.