It’s no secret that over the past few years the B2B buying cycle has changed. As decision-makers carry out more and more of their own research before speaking directly to an organisation, the role of B2B sales has changed dramatically. This development has made such an impact, that many B2B salespeople have begun to fear for their jobs and are feeling surplus to requirements. But this shouldn’t be the case. The fact is, although the buyer journey has changed, B2B salespeople still have a part to play in it – just in a slightly different way.
Lead generation and nurturing
Due to buyers carrying out their own research before making a purchase, sales conversations have changed. When a salesperson now engages with a prospect or a lead, it’s no longer appropriate or beneficial to go in with the ‘hard sell’. Due to the jaded and apathetic reaction to sales messages, today’s decision-makers need to be nurtured, educated, and a bond of trust needs to be creative. So, by combining the expertise of the sales and marketing teams, salespeople can now approach leads and prospects and offer them targeted content. These pieces of thought leadership content not only display empathy towards the buyers but also help build a bond of trust and knowledge sharing. By providing decision-makers with content to aid the research and decision stages of their buying process (in a non-salesy way), salespeople are able to build trust with buyers.
The conversion to sale
Having carried out lead nurturing with a variety of targeted pieces of content and messages, the salesperson is now fully equipped to convert the lead to a sale. By combining their knowledge of the buyer with all of the findings gathered by the marketing team, the salesperson can now start a sales discussion. Using the subject matter of the content, the conversation can be guided towards the buyer’s pain point, their current solution, and their requirements from the next solution. With this information at hand, the salesperson can edit and amend their approach to ensure maximum engagement and impact.
The future of B2B sales
The future is looking bright for B2B sales. Marketers are capable of generating leads, but it will always take a B2B salesperson to convert that lead to new business. Granted, things are expected to continue changing and the relationship between sales and marketing will become much closer (with lots of shared knowledge), but this will only help to empower the sales team. For organisations looking to ensure their business continues to grow, aligning their sales and marketing teams now is an excellent way to stay ahead of their competitors.
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