|How Buyer Behavior Is Reshaping Sales Organizations is the first in a three-part series on how highly effective sales teams can drive profitable growth for the organization.
Look back at the two to three big purchases you made in the last few years – how much research did you or a family member do online before you made that decision? At what point in the process did you reach out to the vendor? From retail to real estate, consumers are fundamentally changing how they make purchase decisions. Similarly, corporate buyers are using online reviews (e.g., G2 Crowd) or curated content from resources like Gartner to research vendors and the experiences of other similar organizations to better define and address their own needs. Thus, the shift in consumer buying can be observed in business-to-business (B2B) transactions as well, and it’s impacting how sales teams can and do influence the buying process.
If your marketing team has done its job well, most buyers have already identified your company as a provider long before your sales team made first contact. They already know your business, the types of products and services you offer, and how you’re perceived in the market. As a result, the formula for sales success is changing—with real implications for the people, business processes and technology used to support a go-to-market strategy. For example, more and more buyers are looking for:
- A sales partner that can help develop and – very importantly – implement solutions that address specific business problems
- Interactions with sales professionals that deliver meaningful value, and clearly provide a return on the investment in the time required to engage in those interactions
- Vendor relationships that are highly integrative, persist over long periods of time – often well beyond the date a primary agreement is struck – and look more like true business partnerships than the transactional exchange of goods and services
Retail is a great example of an industry where the customer is asking suppliers to extend their reach further and further downstream. Whether it’s providing insights on the end consumer, developing strategies to lift sales through better category management or reducing inventory while keeping shelves stocked. Let’s take a look at each of these emerging requirements and how they might influence the design and deployment of your sales team.
1. TREND: Solutions-Focused Partnerships