What a question. I hear my colleagues from Sales screaming. My 2 cents: In Complex B2B sales with a complex customer journey we will need the seller for sure. But even there – and I am in marketing B2B Software solutions – the Cloud paradigm is going to change the sales process. The decision process and the sales journey has already changed dramatically, although some people might deny this. Customers are coming to the table already well-informed with in-depth information, with insights and comments they got from the web on your company and products.
And they might already have made a decision – based on the information and (hopefully) quality content out there on the web, not only on your own web site. You need to know what the questions of your customers are or might be, where they look for information beyond your web site, where people talk about your solutions or solutions like yours, who the influencers are and much more. The sales process has changed and much moved to marketing. Marketing needs to make sure to provide high quality content, put it on the right places, easy to find and build and maintain influence in the market. The seller becomes more a “closer” and somebody building at a very late stage in the sales and decision process a trustful relationship with the customer. For sure Sales and Marketing need to walk hand in hand even closer to analyze and understand the Customer Journey.
Modern buyers are stubbornly independent, going into the purchasing process armed with the notion that they’ll be the ones to lead the charge.
B2B buyers don’t want your brand’s help making their decisions.
- 57% of the buyer’s journey is completed before speaking with sales. (source)
- 67% of the buyer’s journey is done digitally. (source)
- And, by 2020, analysts predict 85% of the customer experience won’t include human interaction. (source)
B2B buyers want to research a product, come to a conclusion, and throw down money with full anonymity from a sales representative. …
A well-written whitepaper, case study, or website can accurately convey all the information a buyer might need to make his or her decision. Does it replace a human? Of course not. … But it allows those people who want to make the purchase on their own, to do just that.
This is why content continues to be the major force behind all marketing and business efforts. For business transactions to happen, whether on a B2C or B2B level, you have to give the modern buyer the option to make his or her decision independently. …
The new, independent buyer is more likely to do business with your company if they can “get to know” your company online and at their leisure before meeting you face to face. Building that foundation of content now means you’ll be ready for those buyers who never want to interact with a salesperson.