DIGITAL BUYING ERA: 3 Challenges Facing B2B Sales TodayJul 13, 2023
As a B2B salesperson, have you found it increasingly difficult to meet your quotas lately? Are customers not as eager to meet as they used to be? If so, you're not alone. Let's delve into the three most persistent challenges in the sales industry today and explore why sales has become a tougher arena.
The Shrinking Role of Salespeople
One of the most striking challenges we face is our diminishing role in the buying process. It's increasingly common for sellers to be involved later and later in the customer's purchasing journey. This shift leaves us grappling to find reasons to reach out to customers and struggling to arrange meetings.
Decades ago, the salesperson was a critical player in the buying process. B2B customers would initiate their buying journey by contacting a sales representative. Meetings were platforms to compare products and services and ask questions that would push the buying process forward.
Fast forward to today, and the landscape has drastically changed.
Challenge 1: The Move to Online
In today's digital age, most B2B purchase decisions are made online. Customers have unrestricted access to the internet and can choose where they source information. According to a Forrester report, 68% of B2B customers prefer to research independently online. The result? B2B buyers spend only 5% of the total purchase journey with sales representatives and five times more time researching online (Gartner, 2019).
The shift to digital channels for B2B sales interactions is expected to reach 80% by 2025 (Gartner). Many buyers are increasingly reluctant to meet salespeople – 60% did not want to contact a salesperson as early as 2017, and more recently, 43% expected purchasing processes to happen without a salesperson at all (Gartner, 2021).
Challenge 2: Lack of Trust
The pushy sales tactics of the past have contributed to a current trust crisis. We were taught to persist and to find a way in even if the door was shut. However, these tactics have led to a mistrust of salespeople.
The key difference between then and now is the availability of choice for the customer. Previously, customers had limited access to information and were more dependent on the salesperson. Today, clients have a wealth of information at their fingertips. Sales staff now need to go the extra mile to engage with clients.
Challenge 3: Limited Contact with Decision-Makers
The third challenge we face is limited contact with the entire purchasing committee, especially the C-suite. The typical buying group for a complex B2B solution involves 6 to 10 decision-makers (Gartner, 2019).
Purchasing groups have become more diversified, and new roles have emerged. It's now more challenging to build relationships with all of these decision-makers, particularly the C-suite. Yet, this group is highly relevant for the sales department.
In today's B2B buying journey, there's limited "surface area" for actual selling. Sales reps are now a channel to customers, not the channel.
The Way Forward
The question is, how can salespeople use LinkedIn and other social selling tools to navigate these challenges?
Ready to take your sales skills to the next level? Go to my YoutTube Channel and learn how social selling can help you tackle these challenges!
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