Last week, Tom Pisello, Founder at the Evolved Selling Institute & Chief Evangelist at Mediafly, interviewed Steve Silver, VP, Research Director at Forrester, during a Mediafly sponsored EVOLVERS Meet-Up. In the session, Steve and Tom discussed:
- How to ensure your sellers can meet sales targets while fulfilling the expectations of increasingly digital buyers
- The role dynamic guided selling plays in current and future sales motions
- The content and resources today’s buyers need on their path to purchase
- The importance of collecting and analyzing data to provide actionable, on-demand insights to reps and sales leaders
- How to align all revenue teams from marketing to sales to customer success to address the most challenging selling environment ever
It was a juicy one. If you missed the webinar, fear not. I’ve compiled the biggest takeaways for your reading pleasure below.
What’s Going on in the World of B2B Digital Selling?
B2B Buyers have changed…again. Forrester’s 2021 B2B Buying Study uncovered today’s buyers are doing more due diligence than ever.
The number of sales interactions (including human and digital) happening during the purchase process has jumped from 17 interactions in 2019 to 27 interactions in 2021. Purchase timelines have also increased, with 32% of today’s purchase decisions taking four months or longer compared to 19% in 2015.¹
What’s more, as the path to purchase has changed, so has the buying group on that path. C-level executives and risk-averse finance teams are increasingly involved in purchase decisions, while IT’s influence has stayed the same.
With the C-suite now involved in 75% and finance involved in 51% of purchase decisions², today’s sellers need to understand who is involved in the decision-making process as early in the deal cycle as possible and ensure they’re consistently engaging across the entire buying group.
Longer sales cycles, growing buying committees made up of risk-averse executives and finance teams, and more engagement required to close deals, mean today’s sellers have their work cut out for them.
The New Normal is…not that new
According to Forrester Research, 90.5% of core selling time occurred virtually in 2020. Pre-pandemic, that number was 71.3%.
The reality is, we’ve been trending towards digital selling for years. The pandemic just accelerated the transition.
While many sales organizations are eager to get their sellers back on the ground and in front of customers, many buyers won’t be returning to the office. So whether sales organizations like it or not, digital selling is here to stay. And sellers and marketers have to adapt their go-to-market motions accordingly.
Optimize B2B Digital Selling and Marketing Motions
How can you better engage buyers in the increasingly complex world of B2B purchasing?
- Understand your buying group and decision-making authority. Who is involved? What challenges are they up against?
- Determine your buyer’s requirements along that journey. What do they care about? Features/functions? Cost? Evidence or success stories?
- Enable buyers with information when and how they want it. Curate content that will have an impact on their ability to make a decision.
Your buyer is often betting their career on buying something from you. That’s a big deal. Here’s how to earn their trust and avoid a ‘No decision’ decision:
Leverage the Right Content Across the Buyer Journey
According to Forrester:
- 61% of vendors offer too much material³
- 61% of material is focused more on style than substance³
- 56% of material is extraneous – buyers end up getting information from other sources³
- 54 out of 60 B2B websites across 12 industries failed to pass Forrester’s “Engaging Content” test in 2019⁴
Having good content matters. Delivering that content to the right audience at the right time and in the right context matters even more.
Content must be highly targeted and relevant. Make it easy. Use simple language. Write less about you and your products and more about how you can help buyers address their challenges and the value you can provide.
Lastly, ensure your sellers have the content they need and know where, when, and how to leverage it.
Adopt a Value Selling Approach
Prove you can offer value leading up to the sale, and then prove the outcomes you promised have been achieved post-sale for renewal and expansion opportunities.
Nobody wakes up and says, “I want to buy something today.” They wake up and say, “I have a business problem I want/need to solve.”
To pivot to a value approach, your sales reps must first understand:
- Who is a high potential prospect (your ICP)?
- Who is involved in the purchase decision?
- How do they make a purchase decision?
- Why would they buy from you?
Once they have this understanding, they can craft a relevant value story outlining the value your company delivers and/or problems you solve.
Your sellers should be answering three critical questions in every sales interaction:
- What is the value you provide?
- What is the business problem you are solving?
- How does your organization help solve the problem?
The more expensive the purchase, the more important this is.
Use Intelligence to Help Sales Leaders & Reps Make Better Business Decisions
Sales leaders and reps are completely overwhelmed by data. Move beyond data collection and focus your efforts on actionable insights sales reps and sales leaders can use to help them make better business decisions.
Actionable insights including AI-driven content recommendations can help your sellers give buyers the content and information they need to make a purchase decision without overwhelming them.
I’ll keep it simple. When it comes to B2B Digital Selling:
- Value Matters.
- Good Content Matters.
- Actionable insights matter.
Are you transitioning your sales organization from a traditional to remote or hybrid selling model? Download our free Sales Enablement Toolkit.
- Forrester 2015, 2019, and 2021 B2B Buying Studies
- Forrester 2017 and 2021 Buying Studies
- Forrester’s Q3 2019 Global Marketing Content Credibility Study, Base: N=341 global technology final decision-makers
- “B2B Websites Still Fail Our Customer Engagement Test” Forrester report