The world of sales has changed a lot in the last 20 years. From the time when people wanted others to do or buy something, sales techniques were developed and people started to have jobs and careers in sales.
Historians have found coins from around 7,000 years ago. This means that we stopped bartering and started exchanging goods and services for money at around that time. But with the rise of mass media, the opening up of new markets, and the massive growth of social media, the game has changed completely.
Selling has gone from an industry where you might have had one or two competitors to now finding out that anyone can start up a rival sales business from their backroom n over the Internet and engage with customers. Businesses are not limited to physical stores anymore. With the help of the Internet, anybody can buy and sell profitably. So as the world around us changes, the way that we approach sales should change too.
The expensive ways of advertising a product on the television and then waiting for the phone to ring has disappeared in many ways. What we need as sales professionals is an easier way to do business, a more effective and more efficient way. What we need is a channel that connects with the customer.
Many large companies can throw more and more cash at the problem and keep on growing, seemingly exponentially. The likes of Apple and Google are playing a different ball game to the rest of us when it comes to finding out the ideal ways to raise customer awareness and make those vital sales that mean the difference between success and failure.
Apple spends around $1 billion per year on advertising. It works for the company but this is not a strategy that the rest of the businesses of the world can apply. Those small and medium-sized businesses that occupy much of the marketplace for many goods and services in the world economy have to look at things through a different set of eyes.
Just as consumers are adjusting to life post-pandemic, B2B companies are also figuring out how to stay in business, operate, and recover. The COVID-19 pandemic forced B2B buyers and sellers to go digital in a massive way. What started as a crisis response has now become the new normal.
Sure, some sales reps may have had wild success with a specific approach in the past but the B2B industry has changed in many ways and will continue to do so. The business world does not wait for people to catch up. So if a company’s sales processes are not aligned with today’s buying reality – performance falls short and they lose out completely.
The new digital reality is here to stay. More than 75% of B2B buyers and sellers say they now prefer digital, self-guided services and remote human interactions over face-to-face interaction. This sentiment has intensified even after lockdowns have ended. B2B sales leaders everywhere are convinced that digital is truly the way to go. More than 80% of B2B buyers say they hope not to return to in-person sales – even in sectors where field-sales models have traditionally dominated, such as pharma and medical products.
According to one estimate, online B2B will increase more than 70% by 2027, up from $12.2 trillion in 2019 to nearly $21 trillion in 2027. This growth represents ongoing developments in both technology and buyer behavior.
With COVID reinforcing the importance of digital, B2B marketers today have shifted 55% of their budget to online initiatives and 96% of larger organizations completely revamping their market strategies to emphasize digital services/support and channels.
With 60% of current B2B purchases influenced or directly made by Millennials, a frictionless, seamless and personalized experience is expected from B2B vendors. Today’s buyers seek simplicity and ease of use when making a purchase
Also, buyers want to feel important and a company wants to feel they are providing great service to their customers while maximizing sales from them. So clever marketing companies looked at the situation and discovered that an important subcategory of great customer experience is personalization.
Using technological improvements such as Customer Relationship Management CRM and Automated Marketing Systems these companies were able to leverage the data they collect and convert them into profitable sales. This helped businesses improve their customer relationship because by having access to personal information about their clients, they could customize services to best meet their clients’ needs.
But, one of the greatest drawbacks to CRM implementation is cost. CRMs can come with a high subscription cost, usually based on the number of users, or “seats” required. In addition to this, you may need to pay for outside consultation or hire an in-house administrator. This usually isn’t an issue for larger organizations but can be a major setback for small and mid-sized businesses.
There are also risks associated with keeping a lot of data in one place. With stringent regulations surrounding data (for example: GDPR), businesses face severe penalties in the event of security breaches. When it comes to CRM software, security measures must be put in place to protect clients’ personal information. This can also be a significant expense for a business.
The CRM technology drove a wedge between customers and the companies. Because when the company loses its human touch, the clients will likely drift away and this will mean a reduction in revenue for the business.
This is how and why Account-Based Sales was born. It is the antidote to the problems generated by systems that create a disconnect between companies and clients. In the next chapter, we will take a look at what Account-Based Selling is and how it solves problems for sales.
But consider that not every company is automatically geared up to deal with larger clients. You may be in a situation where you need to move up the scale but don’t have things in place to deliver the quality that you need, both in terms of marketing power and customer management. Carefully assess whether your company has the products or services that translate to larger clients before you make this change.