Why understanding buying complexity is a must in modern selling

OK, if you have been following recent blogs or sales news articles you probably have noticed what is going on in our industry. Things at the Buyers’ side are changing; they are better informed, do more and thorough research on their own and apparently by the time they meet salespeople they have completed 57% of their buying process.

What impact does that have on sales executives?

If much of the buyers’ learning happens without direct sales rep involvement, what do we need to do differently by the time we meet with them? The answer to this question is not to see this from the selling perspective but from the buying perspective. As hard as it has become to sell in this world, it has arguably even become more difficult to buy (Gartner, Oct 2018).

Let’s deep dive in this statement, what is really going on in the Buyers’ world: What is hard about buying? Gartner explores the common 6 tasks buyers are confronted with:

Buying Process Gartner Oct 2018

Source: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6460438821329735680

And research with 750+ B2B Buyers on these typical buyers’ jobs reveals two interesting things that change everything for all of us:

1: The buying process is anything but a straight line

2: For Buying Stakeholders it is hard to agree to what to agree on.

In other words, although buying seems to be straightforward, the opposite is more the new rule than the exception.

A Messy Business Buying Process Gartner Oct 2018

Source: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6460438821329735680

Independent online research and having more stakeholders involved in the buying process is causing many buyers more headaches varying from misalignment on the problem, solution scope, and possible solutions. Adding deconflicting information within the stakeholders’ group and even more opinions on what to do from peer discussions outside the buyers’ organization you got a melting pot that is screaming for help.

And this is exactly the chance for sales executives who recognize this new buying challenge. Instead of looking inwards on what you can improve, look through the lens of the buyer and help to facilitate the buying process. Provide information that buyers most need but least likely to find on their own, information that helps buyers completing their 6 Buying Jobs. The new way of selling is not so much about excellence in traditional sales conversations but rather excellence in bringing insights & ideas aligned to knowledge-gaps in the buyer’s process.

Sales execs must take the role of facilitating customers as they navigate the buying process using insights to help customers overcome or avoid obstacles they may not anticipate on their own. Meaning:

  1. Provide customers with a unique perspective of their business
  2. Offer customers a vision of improvement of their business
  3. Explain the potential ROI of taking action

Buyers cannot be an expert in everything, but when meeting with one (you) they are looking at you for expert information. Being it indeed to shine a new perspective on their situation or to validate their findings and possible solutions. Can your expert information bring clarity on their buying challenges? Can you share insights of what you have seen with other businesses, your customers? This is experience what buyers don’t have and is for many an information gap. You are the expert, behave like one!

In today’s increasingly complex B2B buyers’ environment, that is what customers truly value.

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