Are you a business that sells products or services to other businesses? For decades, business-to-business (B2B) selling has been stuck in the doldrums. It always seemed pretty dull and slow when compared with the flashy, high-speed direct-to-consumer world of selling.
However, over the last few years, things have been changing in the B2B universe at rocket speed. Today’s business consumers have become a LOT savvier and expect the same level of service in their work-related sales transactions that they enjoy in their everyday interactions with digital and brick-and-mortar sellers.
Check out some of the latest B2B sales advances you’ll need to know about in 2020 and beyond.
1. B2B sales take place in real-time.
Historically, most B2B selling happened at a glacial pace. Conversations are followed by meetings, presentations, and negotiations on the way to completing deals.
That’s changing. People are used to instant retail gratification when they make personal purchases. Now Amazon and other sellers make it fast and easy for businesses to procure items, as well.
Soon, people will expect B2B reps to provide real-time sales support, even for high ticket items and services. This will be a big step beyond the basic online chat and off-shore call support offered by most businesses. Soon, buyers will demand access to your sales A-team whenever they have a need. If they can’t reach your reps, they’ll move on to the first competitor that answers the phone or is available for a video chat.
Takeaway: Smart businesses must start planning NOW to transform their sales processes into real-time models.
2. The selling process is consistent and improves over time.
Have you documented your sales process? Do you systematically track results?
If not, why not?
Sales leaders and other executives at top companies expect their sales teams to deliver consistent experiences that can be monitored for effectiveness. It helps them understand whether their investments in marketing and sales are paying off.
Isn’t it time to play catch up so you’re better positioned to succeed in the future? Start by documenting your end-to-end sales process. Include things like what sales collateral should be used at every step, key talking points, expected outcomes, and projected results. Then monitor actual results against your projections. This will help you identify the parts of your sales process that are performing as intended and which are not. This will give you the power to maximize what’s working and fix what’s broken.
Being able to evolve and improve your sales process over time will better position you to compete in 2020 and beyond.
3. Lead scoring moves to the next level.
No two prospects are equal. One is always more likely to make a purchase than the other.
That’s why many businesses use some form of predictive — or prescriptive — lead scoring. Most CRM platforms offer this capability. The issue: The scoring provided by these systems is usually based on data that’s stored in the system. That limits the scoring to what you already know about your prospects, not what you don’t.
Cutting-edge systems go beyond that, including external data sources in their scoring algorithms. This allows them to predict future demand from consumers in far more accurate ways. Over time, this will transform prospecting into a more precise, consistent and scientific activity.
Did you know: Mobile Locker’s app can give you real-time intel about sales prospects? Simply take a picture of their business cards and it will scan the internet and provide you with complete information about them instantly. This will help reduce the time you take to learn about prospects so you can spend more time selling to them.
4. B2B marketing becomes a LOT more like B2C.
Google, Facebook, and other digital data powerhouses have completely transformed how businesses target, engage with and serve consumers. They often know what you want to buy before you do. The same thing is starting to happen in B2B marketing, as well.
We are entering a time when knowledge about consumers is power. The big tech ecosystems are expanding their data offerings with the goal of becoming an indispensable data provider for B2B marketers. It’s critical for you to stay up-to-date on the latest. It’ll give you a definite edge against less sophisticated competitors.
5. Sales enablement is no longer a want-to-have. It’s a necessity.
Most larger selling organizations are supported by a sales enablement unit. It typically handles things like managing sales data, reporting results, maintaining and distributing sales collateral and training reps on all aspects of selling.
As B2B selling evolves into more of a science and less an art, smaller and mid-sized businesses will also need sales enablement support. The requirements of this brave new world will be too much for reps to handle on their own. The greater efficiency gained by hiring sales operations support personnel and moving into the modern age of B2B selling will more than cover the added spending on salaries, equipment, and other expenses. It’s one of the best investments you can make in the future success of your business.