Why Your B2B Customer Now Expects a B2C Experience

A Look at How Digital Sales Technologies are Changing the Game

Written by Bill Butler, CEO, Journey Sales

When you purchase something from, say, Amazon, every step of the buying experience—from search results to pricing to confirmation email to package arrival—is meticulously designed and orchestrated. Executed properly, this experience brings you not only satisfaction, but also delight. And it keeps you coming back for more, again and again, sometimes with alarming frequency.

Included in that collective “you” are folks who spend their workday making B2B purchase-related decisions. What’s interesting about this audience segment is that their Amazon experience has created a level of expectation in their professional role: they have come to expect a B2C buying experience in their B2B purchasing world. That expectation, however, is not being met. The B2B sales reps that sell to them aren’t always delivering satisfaction (let alone delight) throughout the sales cycle. They’re relying on the same old static, analog tools that are, in fact, increasingly reviled by their prospects and customers. “Did you get my voicemail?” emails annoy the customer. “I just sent you a follow-up email” voicemails only increase the frustration.

And this is why the next wave of B2B sales is rooted in digital a customer experience which is relevant and personalized.

Before we get to that though, let’s address what this next wave is not. Sales going digital isn’t the end of the sales rep. The human elements of relationship and trust will always be an important part of B2B sales and digital will strengthen those relationships —at least until the robots fully take over. (Further reading: “Relationships Aren’t Going Anywhere”)

Digital selling is about creating an experience that aligns with how the customer buys—and how they buy has changed. There is no single decision-maker anymore. Deal’s don’t get done with just a few phone calls or in-person meetings. B2B buying today is about internal consensus. It’s about an average of 6.8 decision-makers sitting at the table, arriving at different times in the process.

So how do sales professionals gel with that? They take advantage of the digital tools at their disposal that are designed to make it easier for your customer to buy. When you can make it delightfully simple for a customer to invite a fellow decision-making colleague into a digital environment, quickly get up to speed and sign off on a requirement, the deal moves faster. But perhaps more importantly, the next generation of sales technologies allow sales pros to engage with more people within more companies. Land-and-expand just got a whole lot easier.

The next wave is also going to help sales pros get smarter. They’ll actually be able to see and gain insight on those hundreds of micro-moments that can knock a deal off the rails. Excuses like “Oh his boss must’ve never seen the spec sheet” or “He didn’t run this by legal with enough advanced notice” will no longer be valid because those of us on the sales side will have the data and insights we need to mitigate those micro-moments, often before they even happen.

And all of these aligns customer experience expectations. Will the B2B sales process ever feel just like checking out on Amazon? Probably not. B2B decisions take more people, time, content, and analysis.  But the more sales tech can complement the rep’s skillset and shape a customer experience that feels in step with what we, as digital citizens, expect in the consumer realm, the faster opportunities will convert and the deeper and more numerous the relationships will be.

 

Bill Butler is the CEO of Journey Sales. He spends every waking moment (starting at 4:30 a.m. every morning) helping sales reps exceed quota and companies grow revenue. Chat him up at bbutler@journeysales.com.