CEB Summit: Buying Grows Tougher

By Tate Smith, @goconsensus

Recently, CEB held its annual Sales & Marketing Summit.  The headline was simple:

Buying grows tougher

• 51% – Percent of customers willing to buy, but not willing advocate your product to the other decision-makers

• 57% – Percent of a purchase the buying group will do on their own

• 39% – Percent of customers describing the purchase experience as overwhelming

• 6.8 – Number of stakeholders involved in the average B2B purchase continues to grow

Today’s buyer is more empowered than ever, but unfortunately all that empowerment usually just leads to feeling overwhelmed and regretful. Long before engaging any specific company, an individual must root-cause their problem, sift through mounds of content, product, and technical marketing, divide Thought Leadership from Commercial Insight, identify criteria for purchase, and finally weigh potential solutions. Identifying, facilitating, and steering the buying group ends up a bridge too far and the purchase process ends in ‘no deal.’ I don’t know about you, but I’d rather trick-or-treat for toothpaste.

Despite often agreeing that you have a superior product, and expressing desire to purchase, 51% of buyers aren’t willing to advocate on our behalf. And we can’t underestimate the 39% of customers who feel the sales process is overwhelming. Those negative feeling lingers. It is the baggage carried into implementation, paints the narrative of the adoption process and harms cross-selling and up-selling opportunities. That is purchase regret.

When you really think about it, what is the main driver of revenue for your organization? Sales? Marketing? We’ve all seen deals where either was the main driver, where the contribution was disproportionate at times on each side. But one thing is always consistent: the buyer, the champion, as CEB names the Mobilizer™. No deal gets done without an internal change agent. Which begs the question:

How can we make it easier for customers to buy? 

You might have considered a few popular strategies: mapping the buyer journey, identifying customer personas, account based marketing, upgrading content management systems and content marketing, optimizing lead gen and qualification criteria, sales training, social selling (everyone has a formula and everyone’s a guru.)

Did I miss your favorite? Doesn’t matter. These strategies are designed to help us sell and market more effectively, not to help our customers buy more effectively.

Another way to think about it: What stays with the customer when you hang-up or leave their office? Don’t tell me you’re sending a PDF. Does this look familiar?

Conference attendees left Vegas rethinking the problem from the buyer’s perspective: how to identify stakeholders and priorities, how to furnish the group with the right information at the right time, and create a common vernacular for evaluation. How well are you equipping your Mobilizers™?

 

We founded Consensus on the premise of buyer enablement. The platform empowers your buyer with interactive video messaging, alleviating the burden of pitching a consistent value proposition to each of the decision-makers. The technology identifies buying group members and more importantly, areas of alignment and misalignment. Don’t take my word for it, see it in action here.

The Consensus team at CEB’s SMAC!