Today’s competitive business landscape is in a state of constant flux. The increasing adoption of technology and the rise of the digital enterprise are fueling the change in how B2B businesses are selling to one another. With customers becoming more demanding and wanting greater customizations and personalization, B2B sales is becoming a veritable minefield where the old monkey has to learn new tricks to survive. Today’s buyers might not have changed the criteria for making their business purchases, they however, have become more relaxed and adept at making business decisions based on a mix of interaction types, taking away the control of the sales process from the hands of the sales person. Clearly the B2B sales landscape has evolved a great deal over the past few years. For those who believe that B2B sales is still the same here are some statistics that can help you change your mind:
1. 57% of buying decisions are made before engaging a supplier sales representative – Source : CEB
Google, social media, and other marketing channels such as email marketing and content on company websites are the first points of contacts for B2B buyers. It is only when a prospective B2B customer is satisfied by the content generated by a prospective seller that they engage with them with trust.
2. Sales teams have a 56% greater chance to attain quota if they engage buyers before they contact a seller – Source: Openview Partners
Information delivery at the right time helps in moving a prospective buyer smoothly through every step of the buying process – including before they contact a seller. The internet has emerged as the number one channel for finding, vetting and connecting with potential vendors and partners. It only makes sense to use this channel to get into the eye line of the decision makers and make them find you.
3. B2B companies that blogged 11+ times per month had almost 3X more traffic than those blogging 0-1 times per month – Source: HubSpot 2015
Content marketing is now an established B2B marketing strategy. Delivering the right information at the right time helps in moving the sales prospects through the different stages of the buying process more smoothly and assists the B2B sales people control the sales funnel better.
4. 90% of all marketers indicated that their social media efforts have generated more exposure for their businesses – Source: Social Media Examiner, 2015
Social Media presence has become a non- negotiable part of any marketing strategy today. Being present on social channels and sharing the right content helps in generating greater business exposure by increasing organizational reach.
5. 71% of B2B researchers being their research with generic Google searches – Source: LinkedIn
Given that more than half of B2B researchers today are millennials and believe that their mobile devices are essential for work, having a mobile optimized and responsive website is now non-negotiable.
6. 89% of B2B marketers use content marketing as a strategy – Source: Aberdeen
Content beats the hard sell. Prospective buyers show more affinity to those who make an effort to educate them by providing insightful information and provide solutions to the problem that they might be facing. This builds trust and trust trumps the hard sell, any day.
7. It takes approximately 18 dials to connect with a potential decision maker with call back rates being less than 1%. Additionally, less than 24% of sales emails are even opened- Source: TOPO
The key in B2B sales is now to take a more direct approach to generate and build conversations. Building a B2B brand online hence has become a business imperative.
8. Only 2% of cold calls result in an appointment – Source: LeapJob
This however does not mean that cold calling is dead. However, cold calling as we knew it is over. Research shows that 90% of decision makers don’t respond to a cold call. Before making a cold call, B2B sales representatives have to ensure that the prospect has some information regarding the company as the days of interruptive marketing are officially over.
9. 82% of customers viewed five or more pieces of content from the winning vendor before making a purchase – Source: Forrester
Online research is now an intrinsic part of a buyer’s journey. Consumers are constantly seeking information before making a buying commitment. According to a LinkedIn survey, B2B buyers are more likely to engage with a sales representative who can provide new insights about the industry or business. Pardot’s State of Demand Generation report states that 70% of buyers return to Google 2 to 3 times during the course of their research to dive into company offerings and assess how the solution can address their problems. Creating the right kind of content that engages a prospective customer, provides information on what you are selling and gives reason for them to be interested in your product become strategic in consolidating a buyer’s journey.
10. 90% of top salespeople use social selling tools to generate more sales opportunities – Source: 2016 State of Sales report
Sales is pivoting towards becoming faster, smarter and more customer centric. Generating social conversations become instrumental in achieving this. 82% of B2B buyers start their purchasing process with a referral with peer recommendations influencing more than 90% of B2B buying says HBR. Building relationships until the prospect is ready to buy and creating a strong group of brand advocates thus is an essential ingredient of B2B sales success. After all, three out of four B2B buyers depend on social media to engage with their peers before they make a buying decision.
11. According to the 2015 B2B buyers survey report, 53% of the respondents depend on social media to assess tools and technologies when making a final selection.
Still think social media is not important for B2B marketing?
12. 73% of sales representatives who integrate social selling with their sales process outperform their competitors and exceed their quota by 23% – Source: Aberdeen Group
Clearly social media is now becoming crucial towards building brand awareness and is becoming more relevant in today’s B2B sales story
13. 84% of C-level and VP-level buyers use social media for purchasing – Source: IDC
Using social media to therefor get into the eye line of the decision maker has never been more important
14. 96% of customers find videos useful when making purchasing decisions – Source: Animoto
The days of boring and droning B2B content are over. It’s time to make B2B content vibrant and interactive as well.
15. 86% of B2B buyers say they see “no real difference between suppliers” –Source: Webbiquity
Much like B2C messaging, it is time for B2B messaging to get personal to generate a higher brand connection and ultimately translate into building consumer relevance which helps in generating quality leads.
In the in their “Navigating the New Path to Purchase” report, Millward Brown Digital elucidates “The traditional purchase funnel diagram, one which any marketer could sketch from memory, is officially dead. The singular, orderly sequence of purchase stages has been scrambled, and marketers need to conform. In today’s world, where consumers have access to constant information through computers, smart phones, and tablets, each person’s path to purchase is complex and unique.”
Time to take a close look at your B2B sales strategy, isn’t it?