There is no question B2B buying behavior has evolved at an accelerated pace over the last two years. The shift to B2C-like behaviors means your buyers are even more comfortable completing their process digitally. Digital and hybrid selling models are here to stay, but not without creating an entirely new dynamic between buyers and revenue teams. Revenue teams (marketing, sales, success/account management) must adapt their selling process to support and enable buyers to survive and thrive.
B2B buying behavior has changed (again)
With modern B2B buyers doing more through digital channels (learn how interactive content drives buyer engagement), it’s increasingly important to prepare sellers with insights on what matters to their prospects. New B2B buying behaviors dictate that each stakeholder does 60-80%-plus of their research independently and may have up to five pieces of relevant information to bring to the discussion table (Gartner).
Your buyers consume information from your content, competitors, thought leaders, analysts, personal networks, and peer reviews (Think G2). With all this information, the buying crew collectively comes to a meeting armed and ready. That might make sellers uncomfortable, and it should. They need to start thinking differently and start preparing for the informed, or in some cases, over-informed buyer.
Meet the informed buyer
The informed buyer is well-researched on their challenges and the solution vendors in the space. The abundance of information they have consumed means they know about you, the solution space, your competitors, and who can help them achieve their objectives.
I would even argue that some prospects show up knowing more about your product and market than your own sales force. I recently had my first engagement with a prospective buyer where he already made a decision independently and just wanted to discuss the price. While this may be the exception, I can assure you that this new B2B buying behavior will continue. And without buyer activity insights, your sellers will continue to show up to that elusive meeting underprepared to guide their prospects through the complicated process.
Now, meet the over-informed buyer
The over-informed buyer is similar to the informed buyer. Except the over-informed buyer has collected too much conflicting information on their own or collectively across the buying group. With each stakeholder consuming inconsistent information, they attempt to prioritize, reconcile and navigate amongst themselves. This exhaustive process can overwhelm buyers and potentially lead to buyer’s remorse or the dreaded no-decision decision.
Revenue teams must be prepared to carefully navigate buyer paralysis (no decision) or buyer’s remorse to avoid the negative impacts on the partnership. This environment puts sellers in a difficult position where they have to try and play mediator while moving the sales process forward.
Revenue Teams must support all activities to enable buyers and prepare sellers
Meeting-based selling is fading fast because your buyers don’t want an aggressive pitch. With B2B buying behavior happening primarily through digital channels, revenue teams must get closer than ever to understand activity and ensure they influence every interaction. That may come more naturally to a marketing team as they have been early adopters on incorporating technology into their function. But sellers must also get comfortable using activity and intent data to prepare themselves.
Alignment between revenue teams is essential. Siloed solutions and data leave revenue teams unable to gain a holistic view of the buyer and seller activity throughout the entire journey. Without integrated tools and a single source of truth for insights, you will never build the personalized, insight-driven sales engagements your buyers crave.
How should you prepare your revenue teams?
Revenue team leaders must evolve their capabilities to support revenue enablement activities across all customer-facing interactions. Whether digital, virtual, or real life, buyers need to be supported and guided through their experience. Likewise, sellers must be prepared with relevant information and content to meet the informed or over-informed buyer wherever they are in the buyer journey.
Here are a few ways you can help create a personalized B2B buying experience:
- Marketing teams create impactful content to gather buyer activity and learn what content assets drive action.
- Demand gen teams turn buyer activity into actionable insights to prepare sellers for their meetings.
- Sellers use buyer activity insights to shape impactful interactions and help navigate the complex sale.
- Sellers use microsites (digital selling rooms) with relevant content to support the buying group and gather actionable insights.
- Success or account management teams continue the use of microsites throughout the customer lifecycle to gather insights on account health and identify up and cross-sell opportunities
There is no going back to the way things were. B2B buying behaviors are forever changed and the new dynamic is here to stay. That comes with challenges, but if you take the time to align your teams and technology around how prospects buy, you can enable buyers, prepare sellers, and win more deals.
Download our Complete Guide to Engaging the Modern B2B Buyer to learn more.