B2B companies that haven’t unlocked the value of a customer relationship management (CRM) system struggle to understand how data can help their sales people.Meanwhile, their competitors benefit from the insights generated by their CRM systems and rely on them to convert more prospects and win business.
What’s leading companies that aren’t getting returns on CRM astray? From our experience, their sales functions continue to live by seven principles, each of which has become a myth.
Myth No. 1- We Have a Long Time to Sell: Buyers are pressed for time and don’t want to wait before they make the purchase. The average B2B buyer is nearly 60% of the way through his buying process before he talks to a single vendor, according to CEB. To win, sales people need to be swift with their pitch and follow-ups once an inquiry is made.
Myth No. 2- Most Times, Best Price Wins the Business: Price is still a factor but buyers also value how their sales representative can advise them about tailoring a commodity offering to suit their unique needs. The latest research by Salesforce.com found that four out of five buyers greatly value salespeople who can be trusted advisers.
Myth No. 3- A Strong Brand Overcomes Ineffective Sales Processes: A strong B2B brand helps you get a foot in the door, but unless your sales processes are nimble enough to gauge and follow-up with clients quickly, you might not close the deal.
Myth No. 4- B2B Customers Don’t Buy on Emotion (Thus They Don’t Need a Compelling Sales Experience): Understanding what motivates a customer to buy is important because emotions still play a huge role in business, and selling is a people business. Gaining insights about customers and tailoring the interactions to suit their buying motivations can help you close the deal.
Myth No. 5- Current Customers Will Give You More Slack in How Fast You Respond: New regulations, changing political regimes, and competitive market forces make for a tough business environment. As a result, customers increasingly demand their incumbent suppliers to respond quickly to requests for proposal.
Myth No. 6- B2B Sales are Sequential and Should Focus on Providing Customers with Information: Investing in good educational material about your products and services and the value they generate for customers is important. But many buyers still need a sales person to help them understand the implications of the information. As a result, sales people with exceptional educational skills remain highly valued.
Myth No. 7- B2B Customers Don’t Want a Multichannel Selling Experience: Buyers want to use a channel that is convenient to them when they interact with companies. Businesses that can’t provide a good multi-channel sales experience risk turning away customers from their weakest channels.
To better understand these myths and how to avoid becoming complacent about them, download Lisa Hager’s article The Seven Deadly Myths of Today’s B2B Sell.