The B2B marketing & sales process is profoundly being reshaped
B2B companies operate in an era where the B2B marketing & sales process is
profoundly being reshaped. The main driver for this is B2C behaviour which is
now spreading over to the B2B arena.
B2B buyers now look for the same digital
experiences and features that they encounter as consumers. The new buyer’s
experiences and expectations are shaped by B2C leaders such as Apple,
Amazon, and Netflix. In these expectations, themes such as branded experience,
immediate supply of relevant information and a seamless professional
experience are key.
Prospective buyers are increasingly
conducting research themselves online
(outside their contact with a sales rep)
through third-party websites, buyer
reviews, blogs, social media and more.
The impact for Sales is that it is consulted
later and less frequently in the buying
cycle and that when consulted, prospects
are better prepared and have higher
expectations of the commercial meeting. So, in the new B2B marketing & sales process, content, responsiveness and
providing a branded experience are key in delivering an optimal Customer
Buying Experience. In order for this to happen, both Marketing & Sales need to
step up their game in order to stay ahead.
82% of decision makers think sellers are unprepared.
Source: Sirius Decisions.
So what needs to be done?
Companies need to provide their prospects a seamless transition from online
engagement to offline interaction, and they need to do this by working on the
- Content needs a far more prominent
place in offline interaction. This
means that Marketing needs to
work on providing Sales with more
and more impactful content.
- For Sales this means that it is paramount
to have immediate access to
all digital content (complete and up
to date) and being able to effortlessly
and interactively bring this up
during any commercial meeting.
- Every offline interaction represents
an opportunity to establish your
brand. In a world where products
differentiate less and less on features,
it is your brand which sets you
apart. The content and the way it
presented and shared need to be
an integrated brand experience.
- To 'close the loop', Marketing needs
to understand which content is used
and not. This will help to invest more
in content that impacts revenue.
Measuring the ROI on how content
is used by Sales is key.
How is change secured?
An absolute requirement for change to happen is that Marketing and Sales
need to work from shared objectives and goals and a culture of mutual alignment. But what can also move both departments
together is a shared digital platform
that both Marketing and Sales can
use to create, share, and measure the
impact of content. Choosing such a
Sales Enablement Solution with the
right mix of functionalities for your company’s
requirements is key. The challenge
is not to overengineer the solution
with excess functionality, thereby
increasing the risk that the solution is
The 5 requirements of a Sales Enablement Solution
What would the requirements of such a digital platform be?
- Turn the concept of how alignment on content takes place around:
from pull to push.
In traditional solutions, sales people need to go to content. Think about file
servers or intranet solutions where sales people need to take action. They
need to log in, check for themselves if new updates are available or prepare
content for meetings and then pull these to their own device. Of
course this is not the most efficient process, since each sales person needs
to do this individually and marketing is often consulted if content cannot be
In a research it was shown that 58% of
sales people found it very difficult,
sometimes even almost impossible to
easily find the content that they
needed. In the same survey it was confirmed
that sales reps spend a staggering
31% of their time to search for content,
and curate materials for meetings.
But more importantly the result of this, is that sales works with often not updated
and incomplete material all of which has a profound impact on the
Customer Buying Experience.
In the new world, content is automatically pushed to sales people on any
device and offline available. They are effortlessly aligned with the latest and
uniform content and can spend their time maximizing impact during sales
engagement and closing deals, not aligning themselves with content.
Sales reps spend up to 43 hours every month searching for information.
- Enable cross selling and knowledge sharing.
Companies are positioning themselves more and more as solution sellers
rather than product and service vendors. Also propositions are increasingly
integrated beyond traditional business units. As a result, sales people
need to work with more comprehensive and complex propositions and perform
more cross selling. This development makes an effortless alignment
of marketing content even more important, as sales people need to constantly
accommodate themselves with a broader and more complex proposition
- Your brand sets you apart.
Brand sets you apart: when content is accessed, presented and shared, it
needs to be from a branded environment.
- Let sales content follow conversation and not the other way around.
Sales is used to traditional methods of interacting with customers: One-dimensional
slide presentations. However, in the current B2B Sales process,
prospects are better informed and have higher expectations of a sales
meeting which means that very rarely, sales meetings will take place via a
linear storyline. Therefore a digital platform if this age should enable Sales
to present in a non-linear way. So: enable the seller to let the content
follow the conversation and not the other way around.
- Analytics will get you there.
How sales is using content is currently a black box. Marketers extract
insight from the analytics to determine which content is key for motivating
customers to purchase, and which content is no longer relevant.
The B2B marketing & sales process is profoundly being reshaped. Sellers are
selling to buyers who are expecting an optimal Customer Buying Experience. As
a result, in order to be succesful in this new arena, Marketing & Sales need to
align. Content, provided through a branded framework, becomes the binding
factor and differentiator. Selecting the right digital platform that both Marketing
and Sales can use to create, share, and measure the impact of content is key.