E-tail has taught us that customers want to trust in what you’re promising to deliver, convenient transactions, and value. Unfortunately, in the B2B space, many of us are still failing to gain trust easily, provide an easy route to a sale, and even to make the value of what we’re offering clear.
These failures are made evident in a study recently put forth by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and NetLine, which, as stated in a CMO press release, “reveals that business buyers give vendors poor marks for the value and trustworthiness of their online content, rating content produced by professional organizations and industry groups as more usable and relevant.”
The study backs up what most of us already know, which is that focusing on turning a no into a yes, or relying almost exclusively on traditional sales tactics and our personal power to persuade, doesn’t really allow us to bridge the gaps between ourselves and our customers. At Vendere Partners, we agree that modern B2B sellers have to focus on generating quality content and deliverables, but we also believe that it is critical for B2B sellers to focus on the bigger picture; that is, we believe that in order to remain competitive, B2B sellers must focus on uncovering customers’ wants and needs and removing the barriers to meeting those wants and needs.
The first step to uncovering your customers’ wants and needs is identifying what you are doing well and what you aren’t doing so well. To identify these things, you will probably need the assistance of an objective sales management consultant. A qualified sales management consultant or team of consultants that can analyze your current sales processes, benchmark those processes against best practices, and provide you with relevant data and market intelligence, can help you turn your failures into learning experiences, and learning experiences into wins.
Turning your learning experiences into wins can be relatively easy or extremely tricky, depending on the nature of your trouble spots. Most often, the best way to tackle making changes to sales processes is to concentrate on the pain points that are creating the biggest barriers and losses first. It can be overwhelming or even impossible to try and fix everything at once; it’s more practical and manageable to determine priorities, and then focus on solving one problem at a time.
It should go without saying that B2B companies that have been using traditional sales models aren’t in the wrong. Cold calling, telemarketing, and appointment setting, etc., are all valid sales tools. What B2B companies are typically less skilled at accomplishing is converging sales and marketing processes by delivering messages to their prospects and customers that inspire action, taking the hassle and red tape out of the purchasing process, and proving, before or upon the first touch, that their products and services are worth the costs associated with them.
Despite the results of the CMO study, it does seem that the tides are turning. If you’re tuned in, you’ve probably noticed that more and more of your medium-sized and smaller competitors are publishing articles in trade magazines, distributing press releases, posting regular blog posts, and popping up on social media. It’s probably safe to assume that a good number of them are making a concerted effort to monitor their progress and base changes to sales and marketing campaigns and tactics on metrics and analyses.
If the idea that more and more of your competitors are taking cues from their customers and taking the necessary steps to meet their wants and needs puts a little fear into you, now may be the time to reach out to a qualified sales management consultant and start learning how you can better bridge the gaps between you and your target audience. Do you really know how your customers want to receive information, interact with you, and make purchases?