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70% of the buyer process is now over before a conversation with a potential supplier takes place.

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Business to business sales cycles have changed. For sales cycle now read 'Buyer Process'. Buuyers are engaging with potential suppliers much later in their buying process. The challenge facing inside sales teams is to make sure their sales and engagement process is fit for purpose in this new sales world. The new way of buying is now ..... is your inside sales team's engagement fit for purpose/ Here are some ideas to get you thinking.

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70% of the buyer process is now over before a conversation with a potential supplier takes place.

  1. 1. Inside Sales Series ‘’Up to*70% ofthe buyerjourneyiscompleted before ‘direct’ engagement occurs with potential sellers’’ *Source: Acquity Group, LLC “2014 State of B2B Procurement Study”; Avanade, “Global Survey B2B is the new B2C" By David Malone This startling statistic is just the latest piece of research that suggests that buyer behaviour has fundamentally changed. Back in 2012 / 2013 similar research in conjunction with CEB’s Marketing Leadership Council in the USA suggested that buyer seller engagement was kicking in at around 57%. Its moved over 10% in two years! In fact, the latest research suggests that it could be at 80% by 2020. Whilst, all these percentages are different – the common threads are a) Commercial buyers are buying differently b) Buyers are engaging much later with sellers. c) Technology, Internet and automation are going to continue to drive engagement further and further down the buying process. So the question for inside sales leaders is ….. “How have you adjusted your sales process to manage this fundamental change in buyer behaviour?” Here a few thoughts on what needs to change Earlier engagement with potential buyers 1) Make sure buyers can find you much earlier in the purchasing process If up to 70% of the buyer journey is over before buyers engage – then the inside sales organization needs to work out how it can attract its target sales audience to find them on line. Being found for your area of expertise is now of paramount importance. This will mean that inside sales leaders will have to work out ways to attract buyers to your website, social media portals, white papers, on line demonstrations, and your inside sales
  2. 2. Inside Sales Series agents and not the other way around. In the business to business context, cold calling by phone will, at best, only create medium term opportunities. 2) Educate Buyers – Inside sellers now need to become educators and mini marketers. The change in the buyer behaviour will also require inside sales agents to become experts and thought leaders, not just in your product areas - but also in the business world of your sales targets. They will need to develop much higher levels of understanding and expertise around the buyer’s ‘theatre of operations’. They need to understand buyer priorities, motivations, metrics etc. This will mean that inside sales leaders and their team will need to work very closely with marketing functions to develop reliable social media selling listening channels and will also have to engage more with their verticals and potentially trade and professional associations to keep current on all aspects of the buyer’s world. Influence happens when you can see the world from the 'buyers side of the desk'. Different skills set will be required The sales process is now the buyer process... and this may mean a different skills set for the inside sales agent. The successful agent will have to be a communications expert, a mini- marketer, technically astute in all aspects of their offering, a buyer vertical expert, and they will also need a very good understanding of how to leverage and be influential via social selling platforms. This will mean the inside sales management function will need to re-orientate their sales processes around the buyer journey. Metrics and steps in the sales process will need to be aligned accordingly. This buyer behaviour train has left the station and it now has a different journey plan – it’s now travelling express - only stopping to pick up selected selling partners! Make sure your inside team gets on the right track to climb on board. davemalonesalescoach More tips and resources freely available at www.insidesales.ie
  3. 3. Inside Sales Series

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