What Challenges will sales people face in 2019?
Part One - Access to buyers and influencing buyers
As part of a new series I wanted to focus my attention on the challenges that sales people in the UK will continue to face in 2019 and try to predict some emerging challenges that we expect 2019 to present.
Sales people will continue to find that buyers want more control within the buying process and will continue to try and diminish their level of involvement they have with sales people and continue to delay the point at which sales people enter the buying process, it is a problem we have seen emerging for some time and we will continue to see this grow. Although this is certainly not a new problem as this very issue was one of the challenges we designed our 360 sales model to overcome.
During a recent piece of research we carried out we discovered some very interesting data around the habits buyers have developed to try and limit the involvement of sales people within the sales process.
23% of buyers want to connect with a salesperson during the initial awareness stage of their buying process, however we discovered that a sale is 81% more likely to come to the salesperson that has an involvement within the early stages of the process.
41% of B2B buyers want to connect with sales during the consideration stage, after they've researched the options and come up with a short list.
36% want to talk during the decision stage, once they're decided which product to buy, very interestingly 74% of this group indicated that they were more inclined to engage with a supplier if the salesperson made a proactive effort to understand the buyers procurement process as well as identifying the challenges they were looking to overcome.
One of the key frustrations that this research uncovered was the fact that despite having greater access to more information relating to the products they procure than ever before, 63% of buyers felt that despite having greater access to more information than ever, without the ability to gain practical insight into the solution this information was devalued immensely.
So what does this tell us, it is certainly no surprise that buyers are using increased access to information as a tool to limit their need to engage with salespeople, but it does show the fascinating reality of the challenges buyers still face and although they may not want to engage with a salesperson to gain access to the insight they need to make a decision, in many situations they still require the input of the sales function.
Another interesting insight shows that when sales people do have access earlier in the process the sale is far more likely to come to the sales person that has been involved within the early stages.
So although the rules of the buyer versus sales game may have changed and the timing and extent to which we are involved has shifted, the game itself and the needs and challenges a buyer faces hasn’t changed too much at all.