On a daily basis our teams’ inboxes, like many other professionals’, is full of messages that start with, “I know you are busy, but…” which is generally followed by…
“I was wondering, do you care about growing your company’s revenue/leads?”
“I see you downloaded a white paper, can we schedule a demo this week?”
“My accounting/sales/CRM/project management/time/recruiting tool is the best.”
“Your company has received an award, please acknowledge and review paid promotional options before it’s too late.”
“I would make a great guest on your podcast.”
“You must have missed my last three emails.”
“Can we hop on a call?”
No wonder Forrester Research shows 59% of B2B buyers prefer not to interact with a salesperson.
As a B2B company, AE Marketing Group understands the need to build and manage a healthy sales pipeline. And as a 3x Inc. 5000 company, we recognize that a bigger pipeline should lead to more revenue.
But somewhere in our instant gratification, false sense-of-significance world, we have lost the art of building a strong buyer experience and relationship.
Technology has given so much power to consumers – and we are all consumers (no matter our day job). Yet, legacy B2B sellers mistakenly focus his/her pitch on themselves vs. the end buyer. And, sellers reinforce his/her approach with generic messaging designed to differentiate on feature/function – which doesn’t differentiate.
Sales must understand that a “one size fits all” approach just doesn’t work on a modern buyer anymore. An added risk is the B2B buyer has the power to use technology to share their displeasure (just like a consumer buyer might write a bad Yelp or AirBnB review) across their social and professional networks. This will damage credibility over time.
What can B2B sellers do to be more relevant today? It starts with shifting focus. We often coach B2B sales (and marketing) teams to put themselves in the buyers’ shoes – sounds easy right? It can be if a seller thinks about how he/she buys in their personal lives as a consumer.
Consumers research, seek reviews and recommendations, compare and plan, confirm costs, then purchase.
Once you’ve shifted focus, then build a process for the long-game.
Consider how you can add value before asking for the sale. Collaborate with your marketing peers to provide relevant content that informs and educates potential buyers. Develop future buyer personas and harness existing customers to create raving fans. When prospecting, do your research so sales outreach is (or at least feels) more personable.
And for god’s sake use your manners.