There is a churn underway in the enterprise purchase process and new models are being experimented with. There are buyer expectations that sellers will engage with them with deeper context and given information overload, engage on a foundation of trust. This is a perfect opportunity for fore-sighted organizations to break-free of traditional sales shackles and relook at their user need and how best to serve them. We believe that strategic decisions made now will separate the winners from the pack.
There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.
– William Shakespeare
Traditionally marketing has been tasked with communication of values and building a positioning while sales had to engage with the buyer and close the transaction. Currently with multiple-channels for information (with most being peer-to-peer), marketing has a critical role around engaging with consumers and shaping possibilities. This has to be shaped around user needs and benefits and not around product features.
Also, Marketing needs to be far more quantitative with focus around effort and investments in various channels and tracking these back to the sales pipeline. An interesting concept is ‘Smarketing’ to achieve greater alignment between Sales and Marketing functions.
As mentioned earlier, most enterprise buyers are overwhelmed with information and are skeptical of unsolicited queries. At the same time, data suggests that they are quite likely to select the first vendors to offer them relevant and timely insight. This obviously requires deep understanding of key problems that need a solution and also interacting with the right stakeholder.
This leads us to believe that success in enterprise sales is well achieved through a combination of
a) Getting insight around prospecting issues and key stakeholder(s) to engage with
b) Getting connected through a trusted network
Our analysis suggests that most organizations are able to leverage under 2% of the Trust Networks available for them, losing out on key interaction opportunity.
In today’s age of constant change and evolving technologies, leading business buyers expect vendor-partners to not just follow instructions but also create value by offering suggestions, challenging the current thought process and also participating in solving last-mile problems during deployment. In certain organizations, the vendor partner might also play a key role to help navigate the purchase process. As per Corporate Executive Board, a leading research advisory, this ‘Challenger Sales’ model of offering insight through the engagement significantly outperform traditional salespeople.
“53% of B2B customer loyalty is driven by their experience of the sales process, and the message that reps provide is a critical component of this experience”.