Eric Gervet and Steffen Oder authored a report for A T Kearney on The Future of B2B sales. “In a survey of 1600 top sales managers and professionals in a diverse cross section of industries from consumer goods and retail to energy and utilities—including businesses that sell in turn to individual consumers and small businesses” in search of support for their hypothesis that B2B sales has fundamentally changed. The write “…almost all will see a massive shift in bargaining power toward their customers, driven by Internet-fueled market transparency and globalization. all sorts of disintermediation and reintermediation have redefined products and services and reconfigured entire value chains—routinely leading to new entrants and substitutes.”
With this background thier research identified 9 emerging practices grouped in 3 waves as key differentiators between the 26% leaders who were able to grow thier revenue and sales productivity at a pace significantly higher than their peers.
The First Wave, as the authors define it is Make Buying Simple and Easy.
It has 3 components –
- Easy – a) Fast and simple to do business with b) Lean, Automated industrialized, and scalable Make the sales experience that are smoother. They quote example of SurveyMonkey the self service, multimedia platform that allows a wide range of users design and run thier own surveys. Typeform, a more recent example reinforces similar trends.
- Anytime Anywhere Anyway – a)Extensive use of Digital Channels b) Alignment of all channels and touch points. Rise of conversational marketing and chat bots allow B2B products and services to offer 24/7 accessibility in a connected environment. Example of “Wurth, a wholesaler of diversified goods and services offers integrated experience across its 32000 direct sales reps” is cited as an example.
- Anticipative and Personalized – a) Customized interaction models b) Preconfigured, segment-specific value propositions. Technical product and solutions providers have deployed configurators and support tools to great sales success. “My IBM” and Easy Select from KSB – a pump suppliers are examples of this shift and adoption by businesses.
The other two waves include Maximizing Customer Value and Redefining Customer Value.
The report, though a few years old makes definite sense and actually shows that trends that are now mainstream were correctly identified for consideration. The core of the new sales is Making Buying Easy.
What are you doing to Future proof your sales?
Link to full report: The Future of B2B Sales https://www.atkearney.com/strategy-and-top-line-transformation/the-future-of-b2b-sales