It’s pretty obvious that the way we buy and sell goods and services has changed. As Business to Business buyers take more control of the process and move along their own journey on their own terms, it’s imperative that marketing and sales learn to adapt, personalize and provide value during the journey, or lose out in a hyper-competitive marketplace.
And that’s the crux of the situation – how do B2B sellers become more agile to reach customers when customers have more and more control over the buying journey? After reviewing tens, if not hundreds of articles, whitepapers and success stories, we at MarketStar have summarized the advice into 4 basic themes:
- Meet customers where they are doing research, which is increasingly online, digital and via peer networks
- Provide value to the customer’s research – aka provide “content of value”
- As a sales person, work to be a trusted advisor
- Use a fishing spear, not a wide net – aka “Account Based Marketing/Selling” tactics
With such a wide range of advice, tactics and technology, how can businesses mitigate investment risk?
We at MarketStar feel that just as cloud solutions augment and expand technology capabilities at scale for a reasonable cost, businesses should consider outsourced sales to expand into new markets, build new channels and scale sales teams.
MarketStar is a pioneer in “Sales as a Service,” which is an agile and scalable outsourced sales solution that helps you shift with the evolving buyer’s journey. This may be an inside sales force that reaches the elusive SMB space, or a field team that provides coverage in strategic accounts. “Sales as a Service” solutions can be very effective tests that scale if they provide long term value. Your sales team’s success relies on it, and your bottom line depends on it.
While there are undoubtedly a variety of factors, here are four reasons to consider augmenting existing sales teams with a “Sales as a Service” partner.
What We Sell Is Evolving
A majority of businesses have expanded their product and service portfolios to include new offerings, renewals, warranties, and subscriptions. These new services and offerings have, in turn, opened new revenue streams and sales opportunities that may be difficult to address or accommodate by an overburdened in-house sales team.
Additionally, the nature of a given offering may be too small, and the sales cycle too short, to warrant the costs associated with re-configuring existing in-house sales resources.
By augmenting their sales force with an outsourced solution, companies are able to allow the right level of support based on opportunity, buying cycle, and sales complexity. Each of these trends favors increased involvement by outsourced sales solutions in B2B motions.
Buyer’s Control their Journey
We are in the age of the customer, driven by empowered buyers, who have more control over their own buyer’s journey than ever before. In many cases, the buying process used to rely heavily on the sales person to initiate contact, drive conversation and be the subject matter of authority; that is no longer the case. For many buyers, the sales person is now a mere transactional irritant, engaged too late in the purchase process to influence or consult.
In today’s market, new technologies and methods of gathering prospective intelligence increase the likelihood of high-quality, personalized interactions between B2B buyers and sellers. According to a TechCrunch survey, 70% of a buyer’s decision-making process now occurs online. Through digital self-education, B2B buyers now spend less in-person time with sellers.
The Way We Communicate Has Dramatically Changed
There are now more mobile devices in the world than people. This statistic is both startling and exciting. Sixty-one percent of US adults are always addressable – meaning they use at least three connected devices to access the Internet from multiple physical locations, multiple times a day.
Digital engagement technology has passed the novelty stage and is now the preferred method of communication among most busy business professionals. This shift from live conversations to digital dialog has created a substantive shift in how people expect companies to communicate with them. “Sales as a Service,” while anchored by a centralized sales group, presents an integrated communication process that mixes automated yet personalized messaging with good ole fashioned one-to-one engagement.
We Know More About The Buyer
In today’s world, it’s rare to find an individual who doesn’t have some sort of online social presence. Naturally, this activity leaves digital footprints that marketers can, in turn, use to create a profile of potential buyers and track buying stages to classify the prospect. Businesses can then leverage this data to become smarter about selling by inserting relevant, timely content to nurture prospects and guide buyer behavior.
Additionally, savvy companies are using advanced analytics to build predictive targeting models, identify and engage the RIGHT prospects and inject thought leadership into communities and social networks at the most opportune time. “Sales a s a Service” solutions are completely reliant upon this data to make sales motions more agile, and also to optimize quicker. The more data that can be gathered, the quicker the sales process can be refined.
Generally, the old model of selling was focused around a product, rather than a customer’s experience. However, in today’s emerging market, a cross-channel, customer-focused strategy is essential to successfully interact with buyers. Buyer’s proactively seek out the information they need to advance their decisions through digital and social channels, from peers and from a variety of other online resources. Despite this obvious shift in the way customer’s buy and interact with products and companies, a recent survey found that only 17% of B2B marketers had changed their company focus to customer based instead of product based.
Enter “Sales as a Service.” In the age of “out of the box” solutions and services, no solution can add more immediate impact to your bottom line than prepackaged sales teams. Outsourced sales teams can be a key in helping companies to develop and maintain a more customer-based focus.
To get a closer look at the various elements that make up the “Sales as a Service” solution, click here and download our newest infographic.
After viewing the solution in-depth, a key question to ask is, “do I have the pieces in place to meet the changing landscape of sales?”