Article - Sales

When Buyers Grow And Sellers Stall

16th May 2022

We all buy things, from houses and cars to food and clothing. And we do it much differently today than we ever did before.

People-first sales transformation

The buyer has evolved. How they engage commerce has changed, and so have their needs. The problem is that, depending on your market segment, by and large, we sellers really haven’t kept up with those changes. We need to evolve quickly to catch up.

When it comes to sales transformation, we need to think people-first. Then we need to build the processes and then invest and integrate the necessary platforms.

Business-to-business buying is changing

The B2B buying environment is changing in three very distinct ways. First, the demographics of our workforce are changing. Second, over the last 20 years, buyers have been spending less time with sellers. Third, Covid has changed how everything in our world has been delivered.

There are a lot of things in the buying and selling environment that are never going to go back. New virtual and remote environments, for example, are one of the many things that we’re going to need to adapt to, to be successful moving forward.

Millennials buy differently

By 2025, millennials will make up 50% of the workforce in the US and 75% of the global workforce. This is important to understand as millennials buy differently and new buying preferences are emerging.

For example, 54% of millennials prefer a rep-free experience. When a buyer’s not in front of our sellers, what is their experience like? Are we enhancing that buying experience or are we hurting that buying experience?

Sales transformation demands digital transformation

When we think about how buyers are spending time differently, I think it’s important to understand where they are spending time when they’re not with us: social media, doing self-guided web search, engaging in chat rooms.

We should be developing a portfolio of engagements that is enhancing those experiences and answering questions in the spaces and on the channels where buyers are.

In other words, we need to make sure that we’re engaging buyers on multiple channels and we’re creating omnichannel experiences. We need to make sure that our company is well represented in peer networks.

Don’t sell, build

But some things do not change. We still need to make sure that our brand reputation is authentic, ethical and responsible because, ultimately, as sellers, we’re not selling our buyers product. We’re working to build relationships. We’re working to provide solutions. And most importantly, we’re creating value.

Four ways to navigate the B2B buying evolution

It’s important to understand that millennials respond differently than some of their predecessors. Today’s buyer is looking for sellers who demonstrate unique insights and information and, ultimately, when they do purchase from us, it’s really important that we make the process easy.

At Siemens Healthineers, we’re looking at four different ways to navigate the B2B buying evolution.

The first is that we want to make sure we’re creating rich, engaging, digital-first experiences. The next is developing sales models that meet our buyer demands. The third is we want to make sure that we’re educating and coaching sellers with skills that meet our customer preferences. Finally, we want to build ecosystem support that changes enablement to go around our customers’ investments.

Rethinking the sales model

As sellers, we need to take a hard look at our sales models. When buyers do engage with people, we need to make sure that our sellers are using the right tone and provide the right information.

What expectations do your buyers have from you and do you have the processes in place to deliver on those?

Buyers are going to go through 80% of their customer journey without sellers. Do you have the right platforms in place to meet the buyers where they want to get their information from? And do you make it easy for them?

Buyers are looking for sellers who make their jobs easier and make them look good. We need to make sure that we understand our people, we align around our processes, and we invest in the platforms to make the right decisions and make it a great experience – not only internally but externally, on the channels and in the digital places where today’s buyer chooses to spend their time.

Terry Coutsolioutsos is Senior Vice President for Marketing, Sales Operations, and Communications with Siemens Healthineers, a German medical device company.

This article is based on his keynote presentation at the RevGen Digital Summit from GDS Group.

GDS Summits are tailored 3-day virtual event conferences that bring together business leaders and solution providers to accelerate sales cycles, industry conversations and outcomes. Regarding the RevGen Digital Summits 100% of Delegates said the overall experience of Digital Summit they attended was Above Average or Excellent and 100% of Delegates said the Digital Summit provided them with actionable outcomes to support their current initiatives.

For more, click here to hear from attendees on how GDS has helped them to achieve their business outcomes.

Continue the debate at GDS’ RevGen Digital Summits where we bring together senior sales executives who are actively seeking to share, learn, engage, and find the best solutions

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