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.

The New York State Department of Financial Services (“NYS DFS”) Cybersecurity Regulations: We are all connected.

Written by Steve Fiergang, Esq., General Counsel, Layer 8 Security

Welcome to the future of cybersecurity: not only in the financial services, banking, and insurance sectors but for all of their third-party service providers (read: You); cyber regulations are in effect.

By now, most of you in the worlds of finance and insurance have been introduced to the recent NYS DFS Regulations. As you will see, these regulations extend far beyond state boundaries and lines of business.   Rather than proffering a construct for another “voluntary” framework to accurately gauge cybersecurity risk, New York boldly puts forth a set of minimum standards by which to judge the thoroughness of each entity’s information security program.  While there are potentially high costs associated with adhering to these regulations that will be imposed upon companies both locally and nation-wide, we believe this is a significant advancement for our country from the perspective of both cyber and financial security.

With the rollout of these regulations scheduled to occur in less than 180 days, here are the five questions (and answers) that should be on the minds of all businesses in the Philadelphia region regardless of whether you work in banking, financial industry or insurance:

Q:  How does this regulation affect my business?

A.:  Every company operates within an ecosphere of interrelated technology dependence and connection.  A significant component of the regulations appear in Section 500.11 Third Party Service Provider Security Policy.  More and more, looking up and down the supply chain, all companies’ IT systems and architecture are connected.  A breach anywhere within the chain can immediately corrupt a third-party provider, supplier or customer.  True resilience can only be achieved when every company, large and small, implements and maintains a personally tailored cybersecurity program.

  1. How do the recent NYS DFS regulations impact companies that have clients in New York?
  2. This question arises as a crossover from individual State Breach Notification Laws, which often require companies to notify those who have been breached whenever any customer of a company resides in its State.  In this case, the regulations speak specifically to covered entities, not customers.

Q:  How do these regulations affect an entity that is domiciled out of NY State but has a satellite office within?

A:  The Regulations apply to “any Person operating or required to operate under a license, registration, charter, certificate, permit, accreditation or similar authorization under the banking law, the insurance law or the financial services law”.  The definition of a covered entity is responsive; if the satellite office is currently required to operate under the authorization of the NYS DFS, then the regulations apply.

Q.:  Are related companies required to develop and implement separate cybersecurity programs?

A.:  Regarding affiliated or sister companies, the regulations make clear that any affiliate may adopt a cybersecurity program maintained by its related covered entity, so long as the cybersecurity program covers the affiliate’s information systems and nonpublic information and meets the requirements of the regulations.

Q: Will other states echo these regulations and if so, what are the implications associated with such a trend?

A:  New York is the country’s financial center, and as such, it is logical that they take the lead.  While the future has yet to be written, this is an excellent jumping off point for Federal review.  The most logical and coordinated approach would require Federal regulation.  In its absence, our hope is that NYS DFS Regulations become a model that other states replicate.  The worst-case scenario is one where a patchwork of poorly matched regulations and guidance from state-to-state leave companies in the lurch as to how best to move forward.