Three Tips on Adapting to the New World of B2B Selling

In the 25 years since I first started selling, the world of business to business selling has changed dramatically. Back then, the primary appointment generation method was "phone power". We’d pound the phones, get face-to-face as often as possible, and that was how we were measured. The only way to quantify your contribution and your success, beyond closed deals, to see if you were working hard, was to look at your results in getting prospects on the phone and securing appointments.

Today, 85% of phone calls go to voice mail, never to be returned, so “phone power" sessions are not nearly as effective as they once were.

In the new world of B2B selling, the buyer finds the seller about 80% of the time, rather than the other way around. This is completely different from the selling world where we grew up. Unfortunately, today’s reality is that 50% of sales reps are not making their sales quotas.

It is certainly understandable that reps are struggling to make quota if their company has not adjusted its sales/marketing models to adjust to the new environment. Now, there are critical steps that sales and marketing should take to put a company on the path of potential buyers.

First, identify your target market and build a database of your best prospects so that you can reach out and touch them through digital media. Make sure that you can also be found by them through social media and a digital presence, utilizing SEO and SEM.

Secondly, to be able to connect with your prospects digitally, you need to capture your message and distribute it. You’ve got a great story to tell, but you may not have the opportunity to tell it face-to-face.

Third, you need to execute relentlessly in a variety of different ways. People consume content differently. For some audiences, simple awareness is the key. Other potential buyers respond better to targeted case studies. Case studies are particularly significant as people move through their buying journey and get closer to the finish line.

Those three steps constitute the cornerstone of the new marketing mix. It’s all about finding the audience, connecting with them, and engaging them until you have a marketing-qualified lead. Once you’ve got that marketing-qualified lead, you can convert it to a sales lead and from that point, your funnel metrics will follow.

It’s critical that companies readjust the sales and marketing mix to today’s realities in the world of B2B sales.