More than 6 in 10 B2B sales leaders agree that their sales processes are well-matched to buyer needs, and roughly 7 in 10 sales representatives agree that they have a deep knowledge of customers and buyers, according to a report [download page] from ValueSelling Associates and Training Industry. The study delved into what sales leaders and representatives understand “buyer-centric sales” to mean.
The broadest consensus among sales representatives was that creating an authentic connection between the salesperson and the prospect is fundamental to buyer-centric selling, with 7 in 10 agreeing. Indeed, practices such as establishing credibility and trustworthiness and developing rapport with people are considered critical virtual selling skills for customer engagement.
There’s also strong agreement among salespeople that buyer-centric selling means always putting the buyer’s needs and goals first (69%). This is a far more prevalent idea than the concept that buyer-centric selling involves disrupting and changing a prospect’s idea of an ideal solution (46%). In other words, it’s more important to adapt a solution to buyers’ goals than trying to change the buyer’s goals to adapt to the seller’s solution. This brings to mind previous research in which B2B buyers’ biggest complaint about sellers was that they were more interested in selling their products and services than listening to the buyer’s needs. More recently, 7 in 10 (71% of) B2B buyers have said that vendors leading a thorough discovery of their concerns, wants and needs will have a high influence on their purchase decisions.
It’s important that salespeople also have a solid knowledge of buyers’ industries. Almost two-thirds (65%) agreed that buyer-centric selling requires salespeople to do research and prepare insightful questions, and almost 6 in 10 (58%) agreed that industry expertise and experience are required for buyer-centric selling. Indeed, LinkedIn research has found that vendors not understanding their needs is considered a deal-killer for many B2B buyers.
Given that buyers themselves are demanding a buyer-centric approach from vendors, it’s not surprising that most sales leaders surveyed said that it makes sense to choose a buyer-centric approach instead of any other, even if it requires more effort. Additionally, a majority agree that even if a buyer-centric approach takes longer, it makes sense to use the approach because it’s more effective.
For more, download the study here.
About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 260 sales leaders and 278 sales representatives.