B2B Sales: Sales People are still in

Some interesting facts out of SiriusDecisions “2015 B-to-B Buyer Study”. The buyer journey seems still to be a combination of Sales and Marketing touches:

B2B buyers interact with sales representatives at every stage of the buyer’s journey, the research firm reported after it surveyed 1,000 B2B executives.

“Although we knew human interactions were still an integral part of the buyer’s journey I was surprised to see that the split between human and non-human interactions is almost equal at every decision phase, even in an Independent Buying Scenario where the price point is lower,” Jennifer Ross, senior research director at SiriusDecisions, …

Think B2B sales representatives roles have declined in the age of digital buying behaviors? Not quite, researchers found. Key findings include:

  • More than half the time, sales representative involvement starts at the beginning of the buyer’s journey
  • The highest level of reported buyer/seller interaction for all buying scenarios occurred during the education phase of the buyer’s journey …

And B2B marketers must create and facilitate, on average, between 11 and 17 distinct buyer interactions to enable a purchase to occur, the researchers found.

“In fact, people matter, not just sales reps, but also the subject matter experts from the provider organization,” they said. “The product manager, executive and customer service rep. All play integral roles in the buying process.”

B2B companies need more insight into their specific buyer personas and buying scenarios that is shared across marketing, sales and product teams to develop a go-to-market approach that aligns to their buyer’s journey, the researchers added.

via B2B Buyers Need More Human Time.

I always believed in a buying process with a lot of touchpoints from Marketing, Sales and other departments. The measurement system in most companies doesn’t reflect this. It is black or white: A deal is either Sales- or Marketing-generated. #WRONG! It is and needs to be a joined effort.

BUT how do the Sirius research findings correspond to other studies? A study conducted by CEB in collaboration with Google showed B2B buyers have on average completed 57 percent of their decision-making process before they reach out to the supplier. Forrester reports that, depending on the market and the complexity of the products in question, businesses might well have completed between 66 percent to 90 percent of the process before contacting the supplier.

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