by pat

May 9, 2010

The rules of B2B sales are changing. You need to address these changes or risk being left behind and losing sales.

B2B sales challenges for 2010

New trends in the B2B market are having a dramatic effect on sales success. Here are some of the biggest changes along with some steps you can take to address them.

Prospects have more information and knowledge than ever before

Social media and the web are having a huge impact on how prospects get information about technology, products and companies. Gone are the days when prospects relied on salespeople to keep them abreast of the latest products and technologies. Today’s prospects can subscribe to RSS feeds, twitter, LinkedIN and Google alerts to get timely updates developments in their market.

Social Media has made it simple to check up on your companies reputation

The wisdom of crowds is in full effect. You can join user groups and forums and ask people directly about their experiences.

Prospects don’t contact sales until much later in the sales cycle

Since information is so easy to obtain, prospects often wait until they have a solid understanding of what they want and what it will do for them. They have also created a “short list” of vendors that look like they can help. Armed with this list they finally contact vendors to ask specific, detailed questions.

Prospects are demanding much more from sales people

Once a prospect contacts you they are often very direct and expect quick accurate answers to their questions.

Prospects are even more difficult to reach and busier than ever if you do

If you decide not to wait for prospects to contact you and reach out to them, you will find that they are hiding behind voice mail and email and can be almost impossible to reach. If you do manage to reach them, you have very little time to capture their interest before they blow you off.

Impact on B2B sales

All these changes have a direct effect on your world. Let’s take a look at how they can affect your success and how you can start thinking strategically about addressing them.

Sales has less time to make an impact

Since prospects are contacting sales later in the process and they are busier than ever before, you have a very short window to impress them. You need to:

  • Gain their trust
  • show that you are knowledgeable and can help them
  • Demonstrate that you and your company will be around for the long haul
  • Understand their needs

Salespeople must be more knowledgeable to keep pace with prospects

By the time you engage with a prospect they have probably seen a webinar, read several white papers and seen product demos on the web. They know a lot and if you expect to earn their business you need to know more.

Sales needs to provide feedback to marketing to ensure better qualified leads

Marketing is working hard to keep up with increased demands from prospects as well. to that end, you can help marketing by providing detailed feedback on why prospects buy your product and the types of problems they solve with it.

In the next installment of this series we will look at why this issues make it crucial to change your sales approach.


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