We all know that phones are ringing less and requesst for proposal are mostly sent to us electronically by third parties such as CVENT. It's harder to get a response to cold calls and some customers seem to spend a lot of time on LinkedIn. In reality, what has changed and does it have an impact for sellers?
Today, for a typical B2B purchase, there are an average of 5.4 people involved in the decision. In the old days, it was enough for us to know the right person and build a business relationship with her to achieve our goal!
Buyers do not use sellers until 65% to 80% of the decision-making process is completed. They do their research without us! It is therefore important to find a way to integrate ourselves earlier in the process, otherwise there is a good chance that they will never invite us to bid.
To be successful, you need to recognize how the buying process of your customers has changed and how you can become a vital resource for that customer. It's not enough to be a relationship builder or even a solutions-focused salesperson. You must adopt the technology (which has made your work virtually obsolete) to reposition your role in order to succeed! To illustrate our point, we decided to recast the old well-known sales and marketing funnel. This is the traditional funnel that vendors and marketers have been using for years to move prospects from the top to the market.
Today, this funnel is no longer entirely representative of the actions needed. So we took some liberties and created a new funnel for sales and marketing.
There are three big differences between these two funnels:
1. The traditional funnel stops at the Action step which ideally represents a yes from the client. In the new Signature funnel, we show that in the decision phase, the funnel begins to expand to represent the 5.4 decision makers and continues throughout the buyer's journey with the experience of staying at the hotel and expands further once they have left the property where we invite them to share their experiences of stay via social media. So, they help us sell our hotel!
2. The second big change is less obvious. In the traditional sales funnel, marketing was generally responsible for the top and transferred buyers to the sales team when they were closer to the decision phase. In the Signature Funnel, we see a much larger collaborative effort between sales and marketing in each phase. That said, the integration and communication between sales and marketing has never been more important, even critical.
3. The last difference is the changing role that the seller has to play when his customer goes into the funnel. When the seller is in the dream phase, the role of sales and marketing is to inspire. When the buyer goes to the exploration phase, the seller must guide them, without selling!
For each step of the funnel, the seller needs clearly defined sales strategies that best meet the needs of the buyer. - To discover these strategies, read our next article which will be published soon.
A text by Julie Charbonneau
Sales and Marketing Director