This is part one of a three-part series on what Forrester Predictions 2020 means for sellers in the upcoming year.
Buyers don’t need sellers for product education, right? We’ve heard this for years, but the times they are a-changin’.
So says Forrester in their B2B predictions for 2020.
“Last year, the number of business buyers who said they found interacting with a representative superior to gathering information on their own slightly increased. That may signal sellers’ increasing value and involvement in transactions of all types.”
– Caroline Robertson, VP, Research Director at Forrester
What does this mean for your sales organization? Forrester predicts that seller engagement will increase by 10% next year.
And with this news, how can sellers stand out?
“At a time when product innovation is so rapid, experiences are what leave an enduring and differentiated impression,” says Robertson.
Buyers Demand an Exceptional Buying Experience
Sales reps know all too well: the B2B sales cycle is a grind. Repetitive tasks, endless prospecting, objection handling, RFPs, armies of stakeholders to convince. And that’s only part of it.
But put yourself in the buyer’s shoes for a moment. Their tasks are equally daunting.
Scores of solutions to sift through. Mounds of content to digest, much of it vendor-serving. Plus, buyers have their own army of internal stakeholders to please–from the people technically vetting products to end-users to procurement to their bosses and sometimes even the C-suite.
And if you’re the champion for a particular solution? It’s your reputation on the line. So, you want to make darn sure that the product you’re advocating is the right fit.
Hence the soul-sucking cycle of research, demos, vetting, and so on.
And that’s why Robertson says, “Stemming the seemingly inexorable tide of self-directed research, shortlisting, and even purchasing in an all-digital environment, we predict that buyers will see a more balanced buying experience combining human, physical, and digital engagement.”
Simply put, prospects crave help to make their purchasing job easier. So be the one to help them.
Don’t focus on the product.
The best way to help prospects? Make it all about them.
As Robertson told the Demand Gen Report, “We are seeing a real inflection point and a commitment to truly making the pivot to the customer as we recognize it’s less effective to be product-oriented. It’s much more effective to be customer-solution oriented…”
How can sellers do this on a practical level? Structure conversations around customer goals (not product features). And meet the buyer exactly where they are in the cycle. Meaning, share what they’re ready to receive and don’t push more.
Robertson adds, “All along the way, supplementing those human conversations with digital guidance is incredibly important, whether through videos, infographics, and even emails.”
Do be human.
Salespeople need not worry about the robot apocalypse. For without humanity, making a sale is impossible.
Last we checked, all salespeople are humans. But here’s a refresher on how to demonstrate humanity in all your sales interactions.
Be personal. Prospects are inundated with pitches, especially the higher they get in leadership roles. Differentiate yourself by researching them and speaking to their needs.
Be consistent. Follow up when you say you will. Deliver the right information at the right time.
Customize. As HubSpot says, “Every sales process is different. Each and every customer has a unique problem, so you should never have the same conversation twice.”
Sellers Require an Exceptional Sales Engagement Solution
We know that buyers expect consistency at each stage of the buying experience. They also demand authenticity and empathy. And once they become your customer, the stakes are even higher.
But what about sellers? Delivering on these expectations while juggling daily tasks is a tall order. And we think they could use some assistance.
To start, all sellers want solutions to help them better manage and track their sales activities.
To build relationships, they need tools that help them engage in meaningful, timely conversations.
To continue growing, sellers also need frequent, effective coaching.
And for sanity’s sake, they crave a home base to start and end their days.
SalesLoft delivers this and more, providing the insights, integrations, and automation you need to scale personalization. And it’s the only sales engagement platform that meets all sellers’ needs.
To deliver a stellar buyer experience, your reps need a stellar selling experience too.
As Robertson closed out her piece: “Our research in 2020 will continue to consider how aspects of our personal and professional lives influence each other and the transformation these drives. As I’ve found in my personal life, experiences matter more.”
Look out for our next post in the series on what Forrester 2020 Predictions mean for sales organizations in the coming year.
Curious to learn what Sales Engagement software has to offer? Check out our eBook, the Sales Engagement Buyer’s Guide.