Salespeople must help their prospects to buy, by shifting their sales process towards the prospect’s buying process.
Today, most of the sales cycle is in the buyer’s control. If a company wants to reduce its sales cycle time, they need to get engaged in the buyer’s process.
A 2013 CSO Insights study found that 75% of B2B purchases included at least 3 buyers, but 40% of salespeople fail to identify them. There are now even more buyers in a decision making unit (5.4 average) and even fewer salespeople qualified to identify them.
There is good news however. Sales Performance International reported in 2014 that when salespeople engage first with a buyer, they win business over five times more often than sellers who wait for buyers to engage them. Quite simply, the earlier salespeople are involved in the customer’s buying process, the greater the chance of winning.
A considerable amount of recent research claims that on average, buyers have completed at least 60% of their buying cycle before contacting a salesperson. However, Sales Benchmark Index indicates that nearly 60% of sales opportunities end up in “no decision”. This begs the question as to the accuracy of buyer’s judgement concerning how far along their process they really are.
It’s important to realise that these figures mostly relate to inbound leads, not outbound generated opportunities. It’s also interesting to note that even inbound specialists like HubSpot and Marketo have large teams of outbound prospectors to speed up growth.
Most buyers are undecided whether to make a change at all. Salespeople need to reinforce the need to change buyers from the status quo. Furthermore, 74% of buyers indicated that they buy from salespeople who can establish a buying vision for them to change. The avoidance of loss is more valuable to buyers than the achievement of gain.
The IT Services Marketing Association (ITSMA) found that 70% of buyers want to engage with salespeople before they identify their short list.
Do your salespeople understand their prospect’s sales processes?