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I’ve just come across a very well-done infographic from CEB Global, on the evolution of the B2B buying. You can find it here.

The-Continuous-Evolution-of-the-B2B-Buying-Journey

What’s your opinion on their conclusion? Personally, I can relate to every single passage.

Let’s sum up the highlights:

  • The average modern buying process is generally at an advanced stage before buyers engage with a salesperson — some say more than 50% of the sales process just disappeared;
  • Why so? Because an increasing majority of buyers are starting their purchase decisions using a Web search. The Internet is a huge source of information and buyers potentially now have at hand all the elements needed to find a seller;
  • However, with too much information, buyers also have too many options and do need an extra push to make a purchase decision;
  • The average B2B buying cycle is longer than in the past;
  • Why so? The reason is that the number of stakeholders involved in the typical B2B buying decision process has risen: location, function and seniority all come into play, while in the past the salesperson generally dealt with only one decision-maker.
  • That said, how should the salesperson take advantage of this new context? My answer is: by adding value to his/her sales approach.sales people

What does this mean in practice? 3 things in particular:

  • help buyers/stakeholders define their problem;
  • provide buyers/stakeholders with a solution;
  • drive and secure a true and healthy consensus.

In short, salespeople have to build a meaningful and collaborative dialogue around service, solutions, results.

What do you call this type of sales professional? A Challenger, as we saw in my previous post, evolves from being a “product pusher” into an “insight provider”, thus adding value to the buying experience.

In closing, the traditional sales process is now obsolete; it’s time to follow the buyers’ journey and his new behaviour.

 

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If you have any comments, input or observations, feel free to share them here. I’d be happy to know your thoughts.

Written by Luciano Giol