Digital media technology and the expanding online user experience (search/social networking/influence aggregators) has provided business buyers with a proliferation of options to research and seek information related to work and work tools/best practices/products.

This shift has dramatically changed the influence landscape from the perspective of the salesperson.

Capture

B2B buyers are more educated and informed about solutions and providers than ever before. Today …… the buyer is the hunter.  Your prospects are spending more time self-educating and obtaining info from websites, journalists, analysts, influencers, peers and other third party sources. According to an Accenture study, 94% of B2B buyers conduct online research at some point in the buying process. As a result, prospects have delayed contact with your sales team. The Corporate Executive Board reports that 57% of the decision journey is completed before sales interaction.

To the point  – buyers are more empowered and informed and have higher expectations than ever before.  Traditional sales and marketing strategies will continue to decline in effectiveness.

A study conducted by the CEB and Google finds that suppliers as a whole in any given market provide less than half of the total information customers use to make a purchase decision. So if you have 3 competitors, at best you receive just about 15% of total customer mind/education share.

As a result, companies default to producing more content with hopes that volume will finally cut through the clutter. In fact, this approach contributes to even more noise and makes it even more difficult to differentiate your point of view.

The Way Forward

Relevance is the new communications imperative – and that means that insight generation from your target audience is a critical job-to-be-done.

High-value, differentiated content rises to the top of your prospects resource list. When it comes to cutting through the information clutter, “audience insights is the currency that trumps all others”.

Then – the effective use of digital tools and technologies will dramatically improve your ability to find, win, and keep customers.

This is true for both working with active buyers (those in the decision-making process) and for expanding the market/kick-starting the buyers journey. Works both ways.

Your revenue teams can develop and adapt skills and processes to address the new buyer’s journey, regardless of company size and available resources.