The purchasing process, in which an average of 5.5 people are now involved, has changed in many aspects and requires a rethink among salespeople, sales managers and executives. They must understand that the modern buyer has changed the purchasing process and that traditional techniques no longer produce the same results.
Today, social media provide information from all over the world and thus emancipate our buyers more and more. They have access to information via digital channels and use it to strengthen their decision-making. 75% of B2B buyers use social media to research suppliers. The days when sales professionals acted as "single point of contact" for information are officially gone because it has been proven that 90% of decision-makers no longer respond to "cold outreach".
On average, 60% of the buying journey is done before a salesperson is involved. This fact naturally has a negative influence on the sales force's completion quota, because they are usually involved in the purchasing process much later than before. In many cases, the customer has already formed a preconceived opinion at this point in time, which further diminishes the closing rate.
So, when buyers have become more digital and their research skills have become more sophisticated, sellers are forced to react. If the sales force does not become more digital, it simply cannot compete in today's marketplace. Only sales organizations that are able to scale customer relationships through social and digital channels will be competitive in the future.
However, this does not mean that traditional sales activities should be eliminated, but rather that they should be complemented digitally.
A flexible, continuously learning and adaptable organization is essential for the success of sales management in the 21st century.