In the world of B2B sales, time a-plenty is devoted to perfecting call technique and working to improve processes; however, I think we can all agree that we rarely sit and ask - what do our prospects truly want? Though we may ponder it occasionally, after a bad rejection or in the middle of a call - there is not enough time devoted to simply understanding the wants and needs of the B2B buyer, and implementing them into our working day.
As always - never fear! The Lead Forensics blog is here to help. We’ve done extensive research into what prospects want, what they think and what they desire from a sales call. We know the numbers, and what we’ve found out is - things quite desperately need to change. You may not be seeing the effect directly, because you’ve always done it the same way, and it works most of the time. But nothing lasts, and your prospects are starting to expect a lot more from a B2B sales call.
The buyer dictates the process
Whether you like it or not, the B2B buyer has more control than the salesperson - in every aspect. You can argue against this, but when it comes down to the wire, you can’t force someone to part with their money. A recent study found most salespeople themselves agree, with 57% of them saying the buyer relies less on the salesperson than they did last year. This has become evident in many aspects of the sales process, starting with how your prospect comes into contact with a sales team. B2B buyers are far more likely to reach out of their own accord when looking for a solution, with 94% of all B2B buying journeys starting online. Prospects like to be in control, and talk to sales on their own terms. Only 43% of people who are “ready to buy” choose to go directly to the sales team, many prefer to engage with content, or at events and request a sales person approach them later. This isn’t the best news for outbound calling - as time goes on, fewer decision makers are willing to take a “cold-call”. However it’s not all bad news - check out this blog for a little more info on how to make outbound work:
Added to this, once the prospect is in regular contact with you, and you’re guiding them through the sales process - they’re still ultimately in control! This is clear to see in the discussion of “when is it best to give a demo?”; even when ready to buy, only 35% of prospects want to see a demo (and only 38% of those “looking for more” want them…), many are far more interested in understanding the product features and reading reviews/case studies. So even if you think you know what’s best - challenge that routine.
This is where it remains vital that your buyer personas are intact and implemented in every aspect of your B2B marketing AND sales. This buyer persona should represent your perfect buyer - and offer insight into how they like to be sold to - this is what may make or break your sales targets.
What do prospects want to talk about?
This is arguably the most important question, but also the most difficult to answer… or is it? More of that handy research into what the prospect wants allows us to delve deeper into the sales call, and understand what topics make a successful B2B sales call for both the prospect and the sales person.
This is where we found something quite important - there is a serious divide. What the prospect wants to talk about on the first call is far removed from that of the salesperson. The prospect is keen to understand pricing (almost 60% of them want it straight away!), along with detail about how the product/solution works. This is all very well, but the salesperson wants something else - and it’s something the prospect defiantly does NOT want to talk about.
Over 60% of salespeople want to know the budget, and the ultimate decision maker on the first call - but a huge 85% of prospects do not want to discuss that until further down the line. This is where the divide heightens - if both parties are trying to extract different information out of the other - you’ll never reach a consensus and have a successful B2B sales call. Someone has to give. And that someone - needs to be you as the salesperson. If you want to create an excellent first impression and close more sales, you need to put your needs second to those of the prospect. Change your tactics, and get used to coming second - it’s what will win you sales.
The “trust” issue…
It’s hard to bring up, but facts need to be faced. B2B buyers think sales people are untrustworthy. Recent surveys show almost 85% of prospects think sales people are pushy. Ready for that divide again? - 50% of salespeople say they actively avoid being pushy. Clearly - there’s more miscommunication! It’s this rift that leads to the trust issue - prospects just don’t feel like there’s honest salesmanship out there, so unless they seek the solution out themselves, they’re skeptical and always have their guard up.
There is no advice to give apart from - have a re-think. Are your salespeople seriously trying not to be pushy? Are they genuinely interested in the problems the prospect faces and how they can fix them? If not - then why not? That’s what it’s all about - care. If you as a salesperson have genuine care for your prospect, and want to sell them a solution because it will benefit them and solve their problems, then you’ll become invested. This makes it far easier for prospects to trust you, and if the credibility is there, you’ll not only see more sales, you see sales of higher quality, and for better money.
This doesn’t come easy - faked “care” is easy to detect and makes prospects even less likely to interact than before! Take time to research prospects and familiarize yourself with their company and their cause - allow yourself to invest time in them, and they’ll invest that time back in you later.
Always be buyer centric
At the end of it all, this is the most important message. It’s easier than you think to know what the prospect wants - put them first. This is easier said than done, often, you put them second without even thinking about it! 69% of buyers want their needs adhered to in a sales call - from the first call to the fiftieth - you need to remember that. Give them something of value, to take away and apply to their needs before you call again. Know what they need your solution for and actively listen to the questions you ask- don’t ask them just because you’re told to.
Whether you need to apply small changes to your current process, or you need a complete audit and upheaval - planning your entire process around the prospect is the only way forward. Don’t think of yourself as a sales person, become a product expert, a consultant, a problem solver - whatever they need you to be to help their personal goals and pitfalls. This may include acknowledging your competitors successes, and even pointing the prospect towards them if it’s the right thing to do.
The expectation from B2B sales is low. Harsh but fair, it’s what the buyers are saying. But this is a blessing in disguise - no seriously! Make changes now and see the impact. Things need shaking up, even if you make the wrong changes - there’s not much left to be tarnished.
Leave the old world of B2B sales behind and welcome pastures new. It’s known that 6 out of 10 salespeople never change their process when they find one that works; that’s what’s causing this divide, and what will be the downfall of B2B sales. So strap yourself in and get settled for the ride - change is coming, and it’s going to be exciting!
If you’re looking to drive your sales team to success and see those big revenue wins, then why not try Lead Forensics? We're helping over 10,000 companies revolutionize their B2B sales process- book your free demo today!
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