3 Toughest B2B Sales Challenges for the Modern Salesperson
The B2B sales process used to be a whole lot easier 10 years ago.
Buyers were more dependent on service providers to deliver optimal solutions to their problem, leading them towards the bottom of the sales funnel.
Today, the modern digital buyer is increasingly skeptical, hungry for content, extremely intrusive, and subject to peer influence
They’ve changed a predictable sales process, to one that is ambiguous and abrupt, raising an array of B2B sales challenges along the way.
Let’s take a look at the top three challenges every modern salespersons face, and how they can deal with them:
1. The modern buyer likes to do his own research, before talking to a salesperson
Today’s consumers don’t take marketing and/or sales too seriously.
While you may claim to have the perfect solution to the buyers’ problem, it doesn’t mean they are content with the information you provide to them. That’s because they have already spent a considerable amount of time researching your company, along with your competitors, and have already decided the parameters for their purchase.
According to a Forrester report, 59% of buyers prefer to do their own researching online instead of interacting with a sales rep. It’s really up to you to figure out how to win their buying-decision.
Solution: Spend more time listening
Instead of pushing buyers to make the purchase, spend more time listening. Being attentive is more likely to help you build trust and a relationship with the buyer, even if they don’t end up purchasing your product.
Listen to the questions they’re asking, and try to provide honest, clear and concise answers. If you feel that your product or service is not the right fit for them, be upfront and let them know. Chances are a) your buyer already knew, b) they can now trust you and is likely to come back if they are in need of what you’re selling in the future.
2. Too many options leading to a more complicated buying and decision-making process
Ever tried to purchase something as simple as web hosting, and found yourself overwhelmed by your options?
As Barry Schwartz says in his article, “More Isn’t Always Better!”, more may not always = great! Research shows that the greater a pool of options, the less satisfied consumers are with the selection. That’s because the wider a range of buying options, the more time a consumer spends on evaluating and deliberating on the trade-offs. Not only does this increase the sales cycle, but also slows down the purchasing process by almost 22%!
In addition, an excess of options can also lead towards more post-purchase anxiety: Did we make the right purchase? Was option B better? Are we getting the right value for our investment? Research shows that second-guessing results in more than 40% of all B2B purchases.
Solution: Provide content to help buyer research
While you don’t really have a hold on your competition, you can help buyers reduce anxiety that comes with an abundance of options and information. Point out third-party review sites to help buyers make their evaluation easier and less stressful. Because digital buyers are more likely to trust peer reviews, it’s in your favour to point out positive reviews on third-party sites that can help pursue buyers to purchase your product/solution.
Also, invest in sales enablement tools and processes. Just because your buyers like to do their own research, it doesn’t mean that you can’t interact with them during that process. you see, modern digital buyers really like content, and often need them to guide them through the buying process. They want content that will help them make informed decisions about their purchase, and help weigh trade-offs between different options. While they can access information they want easily, it may not always be the right kind of information. This is where you take up the opportunity to create a content library, a collection of helpful articles, case studies and other assets that can help your buyers through the different stages of their buying journey.
3. The need to win buy-in from more than one decision-maker
There are more people involved in a B2B purchase decision today, than there were two years ago. The number has climbed from an average of 5.4 to 6.8 today. This means that the modern salesperson has to spend 2X more time winning buy-in from multiple decision-makers.
The challenge in itself is that the decision makers come with a variety of roles, functions, and geographies, creating more conflict. A salesperson may constantly find themselves explaining key benefits of the product or service they are offering to the different people, over and over again. Or they might not be able to directly communicate with everyone in the buying process. This is one of the biggest challenges in B2B sales right now. Not being able to deliver your key message to the right people making the buy-in decision.
Solution: Make buying easier
Taking on a more prescriptive approach, which translates to: make buying easy. Even if you know you have a great product that your buyer needs, it can be really difficult to sell. As pointed out above, there are many reasons, and it doesn’t help that today’s buyer is skeptical, has a tight budget, or overwhelmed by competition. Standing out in the sales process and making the right decision is essential. To make sure that your sales team is doing all of this, a prescriptive sales process is essential.
Taking on a prescriptive sales approach can be as simple as creating a simple checklist for your sales team that helps them identify opportunities to ease the buyer’s journey and provide as much information as they want. For example, the checklist can include pointers that explain the complex aspects of the purchase process clearly to all decision-makers and propose a stable view of capabilities provided. This will help initiate a conversation that includes everyone and gives you a chance to propose a clear proposition.
How to overcome modern B2B sales challenges
B2B sales has changed, a lot.
The modern buyer is highly sophisticated and experienced, forcing sales to become more proactive and prepared. We know that sales today is challenged with an extremely skeptical digital buyer, often presented with one too many solutions for their problem, and has to make purchase decision with multiple stakeholders.
Include strategies such as creating your own content library, adapting a prescriptive selling approach, and investing in sales enablement tools to ease the purchasing process for the modern B2B buyer. By implementing these solutions, you can too build relationships with your buyers and gain their trust, two key elements to succeeding in the modern marketplace.