For the past 10 years there has been a growing body of evidence that suggests that buyers are getting more sophisticated. That the buyer is in control. And that a buyer is 57% of the way through the sales process (Gartner/CEB) before they engage with a sales person.
Could all this be a huge pile of crap? I am not conducting the studies and examining the data so I don’t know the exact answer, but logic would dictate that we are being sold a bill of goods.
What does sophisticated really mean?
Does it just mean that they read more white papers, websites, e-books and blog posts to educate themselves? Is that really sophisticated? With the number of people involved in a sale, one person doing online research doesn’t mean that this buying group is sophisticated. Sure, they need to do some initial research on solutions to bring to the larger group. But with the complexity of many B2B solutions, how can they already be 57% of the way through their buyer’s journey without even speaking to a rep?
Let me explain. Most of you have newfangled, complex products that improve the business operations of your B2B prospects. And I’m confident that you sell outstanding solutions, so no disrespect when I say that unfortunately, nobody wakes up in the morning saying, “I need to buy one of these today!” Heck, I would even venture to say that you are, more likely than not, selling something that people don’t even know exists!
Being from Jersey, ”Lemme aks yuze guys a question.”
How the hell can someone be 57% through the sales cycle if they don’t even know you exist or a solution like yours could help even them? They can’t search for something they don’t know they need!
“Some people say, ‘Give the customers what they want.’ But that’s not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they’re going to want before they do. I think Henry Ford once said, ‘If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, ‘A faster horse!’’ People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” – Steve Jobs
Now, I do believe there are some buyers that are getting more sophisticated. Those are mostly buyers of less sophisticated products. When a product gets commoditized, it’s easy for a buyer to gather and compare information, and look for certain features. This is especially true for B2C products. These buyers don’t want or need to speak to a salesperson for most of the buying process because the information is readily available, and the decision is an individual one.
But while B2C journeys are getting shorter, automated and more passive, B2B journeys are becoming longer, more complex, and more emotionally charged. As Demand Gen’s 2017 B2B Buyer’s Survey reveals, 58% of buyers said that the length of their buying cycle had increased. (Mediacom)
But what about the buyers of sophisticated solutions? I would argue that even if they spend 57% of the buying process without a sales person, it isn’t necessarily the FIRST 57%. For these people it is imperative that you instigate a sales process. After all, if you don’t make them aware that a solution to their problem exists, who will? Oh yeah, your competition.
Moral of the story: Don’t wait for your prospects to come to YOU. Get in front of them before they reach out to you using a combination of email, human to human and social outreach.
Need help executing that? Call us at 678-638-7300.