Frank V. Cespedes and Tiffani Bova
Here are the tips promised in the previous posting. The article affords more detail and is excellent
Here are a few tips and insights to help you navigate the shifts.
The sales force is more important than ever. Regardless of which path customers take, or in which order they take them, they want to deal with people who can help them move toward a purchase decision, be the internal champion at the vendor, and bring it together for that customer….… Don’t believe the hype. Sales people have not been replaced by digital, and providing relevant solutions remains key in most B2B buying scenarios.
One reason why the sales force remains so important to the B2B customer is that most products and services sold to business organizations are components in a wider usage system at that buyer, and customer value ultimately resides in that usage, not just the individual product.
Buying is a continuous and dynamic process. Specious talk about disintermediation of salespeople obscures the real issues facing firms. Sales people are not disappearing, but buying processes and therefore sales tasks are changing….…. In the past, a buyer might ask for references and that seller would cite a few satisfied customers. But through the web, customers connect with each other and get unedited versions of others’ experience through review sites……. Also playing important roles are events, white papers, and the seller’s website — activities that are typically part of marketing’s domain, not sales. This puts pressure on a notoriously fraught relationship: improving coordination between sales and marketing… it’s important to recognize that web sites, blogs, and other digital media have made vendor organizations more visible and transparent to potential buyers, which has disrupted the inside-out funnel approach. Prospects now touch your brand and company at many different points… Buyers value interaction with others at your firm besides the sales…. n their buying streams, they expect the rep to orchestrate those interactions purposefully, and efficient coordination of these interaction points must be reflected in an effective 21st-century go-to-market strategy.
Choices are often false. Despite what you often hear, no single tactic — e.g., a given selling methodology, “challenging” the customer, or more “big data” analytics — will address the new reality. Aligning buying and selling is a process, not a one-shot deal…. They should not waste lots of time and energy debating whether to be online or in-person, interacting via the web or through sales reps, digital or human. They need to do both, and create the right mix for their go-to-market programs.