Technology. The great disrupter. It’s a universal truth that technology drives change. This can be seen throughout history and across industries. With every new invention and innovation, people are forced to evolve how they think and act.
B2B salespeople see this as much as anyone, and it forces them to adapt.
The benefit of adaptation is that it helps you get better. On the downside, rapid change can make it harder to organize your own sales team and get everyone on the same page. Today, we explore how the business-to-business marketplace is changing, and what you can do about it.
How Technology Has Changed B2B Sales
Technology has shifted customer expectations. They act differently because they have more information at their fingertips. By the time you engage a prospect, they likely have a good idea of what they want. And rarely is that a single solution.
More often, they want comprehensive offerings. In order to gain trust, you need to have a complete understanding of the customer’s needs, and offer solutions to more than one challenge.
That’s hardly your only concern. There are other key ways technology has changed sales for B2B companies.
A rising number of decision-makers
Consider this fact: The average number of decision-makers involved in a sale is up to 6.8. This has created a more collaborative selling experience. It also means that instead of working directly with one person, sales professionals are required to have a broader understanding of whole organizations.
We’ll go into more detail shortly, but consider the number of decision-makers an opportunity rather than a challenge by connecting with everyone who is vital to a sale.
The globalization of B2B sales
Technology connects the world. For salespeople in the business-to-business space, this can mean navigating multiple languages, timezones, and cultures. It also means customers are looking for solutions that can serve people across the globe.
This also plays into a customer’s need for complete solutions. For global organizations, solutions often need to be geared to multiple countries, which requires you to become an expert on the entire scope of their operations.
Fewer face-to-face sales meetings
It used to be that sales meetings were done face-to-face, especially at the most important points in the sales process. That’s not necessarily the case anymore. With more buyers using mobile, you need to be able to navigate the latest technology. The adoption of video conferencing has also allowed sales to remain personal even when you’re hundreds, or thousands, of miles apart.
How To Take Advantage of Technological Advances
One of the best ways to navigate the changing B2B landscape is to leverage your current relationships — both internally and externally. You can look for experts in your own organization to make connections in areas you may have less knowledge, and it is always important to build and maintain relationships in outside organizations.
Leveraging these internal and external connections requires steady and well-organized relationship data. Knowing who to connect with and doing so efficiently will help you navigate multiple touchpoints and overcome the challenges associated with advanced technology and communication being moved online.
How do you overcome the shifting landscape?
- Offer complete solutions
- Be consultative internally and externally
- Be an expert on the whole organization, not just a product
- Build and maintain knowledge about the customer
- Know what is happening inside your own organization
The important point here is to craft custom solutions. If you’re selling to a law firm, for example, you should look at their entire organization. Their concerns including attracting and retaining clients, billing, time management, in addition to standard business concerns like human resources and time management.
Having insight into how they currently operate in these areas, along with creating a customized approach by leveraging your own internal experts will allow you to approach their problems holistically, rather than offering a one-off solution.
By balancing all the different touchpoints you can create a full picture of the most important relationships and information. This is why adopting CRM best practices is so important as it keeps your relationship data accurate and up to date.
What Does the Future Hold?
Technology changes quickly. When thinking about how future science will drive B2B sales, it’s important to look at machine learning, AI, and analytics, but you should also look for ways to leverage these areas for relationships.
Having a broad understanding of your clients’ needs, as well as a full picture of your internal teams will help you adapt to changes. You must be adept to adapt, and leveraging your relationships is one of the best ways to navigate a changing market.
Prepare Yourself for the B2B Tech Transformation
It’s important to stay on top of changes as the B2B sales industry continues to evolve. For the latest marketing and business development tips, trends, and guides subscribe to the Introhive blog.