How Suppliers Must Adapt to The New Indirect Buying Cycle
In today’s B2B remote work environment, buyers have fewer opportunities for face-to-face sales calls and developing relationships than in the past. Instead, establishing and building relationships depends more and more on digital connectivity tools and media.
Coincidentally, tech-savvy millennials are making more B2B purchase decisions. And they are more inclined to rely on communications technology for their interactions with product and service providers. These time-strapped managers are more likely to visit supplier and peer review websites and more likely to attend supplier-hosted webinars before ever meeting with a sales rep.
A Longer Buying Cycle
Together, these phenomena have led to an indirect B2B buying cycle that takes longer, complicates the journey, and involves multiple stakeholders. The onus is on suppliers to monitor these new- generation buyer trends, adapt their marketing and sales strategies to fit user preferences, and continuously gauge performance as buyer preferences change.
In this digital business world, a vendor’s digital channels – website, social media, search engine and banner advertising – are more than likely the impetus for a buyer to meet with a sales representative. So, aligning marketing and sales tactics to create a single, synergistic strategy is critical. More than at any time in the past, Sales & Marketing” must be more than a perfunctory department name.
Winning strategies will require hiring and training sales in data and predictive analytics. Likewise, marketing experts in effective technology adoption and implementation will ensure digital marketing generates both brand awareness and leads.
A New Generation of Buyers
Above all, understanding this new generation of purchase decision-makers and their buyer journey using advanced technology is the starting line for every business. Outreach, a sales execution specialist firm that helps companies grow using AI and machine learning recently commissioned Forrester Consulting to explore the new buyer preferences and the buyer journey.
The results of the study confirm that buyers value a consultative, collaborative, and efficient sales process. Training suppliers will follow millennials’ digital interaction data trails to engage them creatively and effectively.
According to the report, buyers expect vendor sales representatives “to answer questions in the moment, lead with data, and guide them through the buying process.” To effectively follow the buyer’s digital journey, a supplier’s marketing and sales must operate in concert, leveraging the same data to deliver the seamless, personalized, and insights-driven experiences buyer’s demand.