By Jamie Anderson, SAP
Selling today is complex, and it’s no secret that the B2B buyer is king. They are digitally connected, socially networked and well informed. At the same time these empowered buyers are inundated with aggressive pitches, irrelevant sales exchanges and the fear that they aren't making good purchasing decisions. It can’t be that bad, though, right?
Apparently, it can be. A recent global survey, commissioned by SAP, highlights the biggest frustrations that B2B buyers have when vendors sell to them. The results leave you asking, "Where’s the personalized, human, touch?" Straight from the buyers, these figures speak for themselves:
- 80% believe overly canned, vanilla sales approaches with no value or relevance are extremely off-putting;
- 75% often feel like they are way ahead of a salesperson who is supposed to be “helping” them; and
- 48% feel sales people are too aggressive.
With these kinds of stats, you’d likely be weary of sales pitches as well. Need further proof? During a regular working week, buyers are approached — on average — 64 times by sales people through a mix of telephone, email, social media and snail mail. Fortunately, though, it’s not all doom, gloom and disapproval.
Buyers who participated in the survey also provided invaluable insight into what they seek in potential vendors. Unsurprisingly, understanding business’ needs and providing the appropriate solution in an efficient and personal manner was reported as fundamental:
- 98% seek a vendor that understands their business needs;
- 88% want to feel good about the purchase decisions they make based on due diligence, guidance and the trust they have with vendors; and
- 60% require face-to-face interactions in the final stages of the buying process.
So what do we make of this data? Or, as a seasoned sales professional would likely ask, "what’s the 'so what?'" The takeaways are clear: for buyers, relationships and direct engagement within the sales cycle is more important than ever. In addition, selling to modern and empowered customers requires a precise mix of technology, training and human savvy. The survey also identifies trust, experience, insight and simplicity as the key pillars upon which customer trust is built.
The truth is, customers have less time; and every day they’re being asked to do more. Sales organizations need to ensure simplicity by engaging with customers at the buyers’ level and putting additional thought into marketing efforts.
This means aligning your marketing, sales and customer service departments in a manner that allows a comprehensive transformation into a customer-centric organization. Only then will sales professionals be able to harness the power of customer insight and personalized engagement — allowing them to deliver a personalized, human and relevant experience and provide an unrivaled sales experience.
Click here to download a copy of the survey.
Jamie Anderson is SVP of Marketing, hybris/SAP Customer Engagement and Commerce, for SAP, where he focuses on CRM, eCommerce and multi-channel solutions delivery. A CRM veteran with more than 15 years of experience in the customer-facing solutions space, he is an active blogger and frequently Tweets under the handle @collsdad.