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.
70% of the buyer process is now over before a conversation with a potential supplier takes place.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
More tips and resources freely available at