Better information beats better individuals
In today’s world of complex buying, Individual sellers are hopelessly outgunned due to the impossibility of being present at every moment of buying difficulty at exactly the right time for every single deal. This is especially hard when most buying activity happens behind closed doors.
Customers don’t value a specific supplier capability or an individual sales rep conversation. Rather, what they want is information specifically designed to simplify their progress through the long, hard slog of the purchasing process. Information now plays a vitally critical role in driving sales effectiveness, independent of individual sales rep ability. In fact, it’s the single biggest tactic we’ve found in all of our research to increase the likelihood of winning a high-quality, low-regret deal.
Gartner research identifies a hugely important — but potentially mind-bending — opportunity for sales leaders to recalibrate their thinking away from individuals as the most effective resource for influencing customer buying behavior in favor of a closer focus on the information their organization provides through both in-person and online channels.
Sales reps are just one — not the only — channel to customers
Customers are largely channel-agnostic when it comes to preference to complete buying jobs. At the end of the day, customers are looking for helpful information across multiple channels. And right now, no channel is performing particularly well when it comes to buyer enablement.
Customers use both digital and in-person channels with near-equal frequency
This presents an opportunity for suppliers to not only deploy far more and better buyer enablement, but to significantly differentiate themselves from the competition in the process. To do that, commercial leaders must create a supplier organization just as impartial to agnostic to channel of information delivery as customers are to channel of information consumption.
The “handoff” from marketing to sales is no longer relevant
Sales and marketing teams are typically organized in a serial fashion: Marketing is charged with generating and nurturing demand early through digital channels and then handing off the most qualified opportunities to sales for follow-on, in-person pursuit.
Gartner research clearly indicates that customers simply don’t buy this way. Because customers use both digital and in-person channels with near-equal frequency as they complete each of the six B2B buying jobs, there is no “handoff.” As a result, suppliers’ legacy organizational structures and day-to-day workflow have virtually nothing in common with how buyers actually buy.
Brent Adamson, Distinguished Vice President, Advisory, serves heads of B2B and B2C sales and marketing.