The emergence of an informed, demanding, and independent buyer is reshaping the sales function. To equip their sales teams in the face of this “super-buyer” persona, companies are focusing on Sales Enablement, designated as the “number one priority” in a study by Gatepoint for Aventi. Let’s take a closer look.
The “super-buyer” is reshaping the landscape of B2B acquisition.
The gradual digitization of the buying process has reduced the information gap between the company and its potential customers. Indeed, informative, educational, and didactic content is now just a click away. It allows the buyer to gather information, better understand their needs, and compare options to secure their investment. This observation is further emphasized by the arrival of millennials in decision-making positions. This generation, raised on the web, embraces digital tools and challenges companies that struggle to navigate their digital transformation.
When it comes to documenting the emergence of the “B2B super-buyer” persona, studies tend to echo each other. The research conducted by Accenture in 2021, for instance, painted a portrait of this “augmented buyer”:
- The B2B super-buyer is becoming increasingly autonomous. On average, they complete 57% of their buying journey before reaching out to a supplier representative.
- They are more cautious. According to Gartner, buying decisions are now made collectively, involving an average of 6 to 10 people. This caution stems from a crisis context that requires buyers to rationalize their spending.
- They are more social. In fact, 58% of buyers prefer to refine their purchasing decisions on social networks rather than search engines.
- Finally, the B2B super-buyer is more demanding. They expect the salesperson to have a deep understanding of their needs and how the company’s offering addresses them. B2B buyers are no longer receptive to sales presentations that simply list the technical features of the product. They expect a situational, contextualized, and even customized pitch.
The Salesperson, Excluded from the Buying Journey?
Faced with such an informed, demanding, and uncompromising interlocutor, the salesperson is losing influence and is gradually being sidelined from the buying journey. In extreme cases, their role is limited to generating quotes and negotiating prices. This dichotomy between buyer expectations and the sales experience offered by the company fuels a deeper rift. A HubSpot study explains that for 55% of B2B buyers, salespeople are not seen as “trusted partners”. In essence, an under-equipped salesperson is trying to meet the demands of a more informed buyer than ever before.
However, there is an opportunity. While buyers are becoming more autonomous, their journey is not without friction points. According to Gartner, 50% of B2B buyers feel “overwhelmed” by the amount of content available in their field. This is likely the opening that the salesperson should explore to regain their place in the buying process. According to Gartner, they should play a role as a “sense-maker” and an “information organizer” to rebuild buyer trust
To personalize their approach and strengthen their arguments, the salesperson needs to rely on an efficient marketing team that is aligned with their needs. In addition to providing leads, content, and sales materials, the marketing team should enable the salesperson to focus on their core responsibilities. This is where Sales Enablement comes into play.
Sales Enablement: The Best Ally for Salespeople in the Era of the Super-Buyer
To empower sales teams to excel in a complex landscape, companies are leveraging the power of Sales Enablement, supported by numbers:
- The average search volume for “Sales Enablement” on Google has been increasing by an average of 51.2% each year.
- According to HighSpot, the adoption rate of Sales Enablement solutions has increased by 343% in just 5 years.
Sales Enablement is a strategic approach that involves providing the sales team with the material (content), technology (tools), and knowledge (training, coaching, data) they need to enhance their performance before, during, and after client meetings. By aligning marketing production, technological choices, and training efforts with the actual needs of salespeople, Sales Enablement addresses the two major challenges faced by sales teams.
1- The lack of time before the meeting.
According to McKinsey, sales representatives spend, on average, half of their time on tasks indirectly related to sales. Forbes estimates that American companies spend $68,352 per year per sales representative on non-sales-related tasks. Additionally, 81% of sales leaders believe that content research for meetings is the most time-consuming task for salespeople.
Sales Enablement provides them with content libraries equipped with powerful search filters. Salespeople can be confident in using branded, up-to-date content validated by the leadership team. This significant time-saving can be allocated to preparing for meetings, customizing the sales pitch, and prospecting.
2- Performance during and after the meeting
The sales representative’s performance during a meeting determines the conversion probabilities. According to a study by B2B Decision Labs, the best Sales Pitch stands out for three characteristics:
- It is supported by data.
- It is driven by emotional appeal.
- It does not attempt to “hide” any potential limitations of the solution offered by the company.
To help the salesperson meet this challenge, Sales Enablement tools incorporate presentation platforms that allow for a customized path with ease. With a bit of creativity, the salesperson can even elicit a “Wow” effect from their prospect and thus maximize their chances of closing the deal. Finally, Sales Enablement platforms provide salespeople with relevant KPIs to manage post-meeting interactions: Which contents were viewed by the prospect after the exchange? At what point were they viewed? Were they read in their entirety? Were they shared with other decision-makers or influencers?
Empowered by the Sales Enablement triad (content, technology, training), the salesperson undergoes a transformation and becomes a “super-salesperson” aligned with the expectations of the B2B buyer.