Providing buyers with misinformation is one of the biggest deal killers for B2B buyers. So says LinkedIn’s most recent State of Sales report [download page].
Nearly half (48%) of the 800 B2B buyers surveyed from the US and Canada say they wouldn’t buy from a representative who gave them inaccurate information about a product or its price. Other deal-killing behaviors include not understanding the buyer’s needs (44%), a sales rep not understanding their own product (43%), not understanding a competitor’s product (36%), affiliation with a brand the buyer already doesn’t trust (35%) and repeated cold calls or emails (35%).
Luckily, sales professionals appear to be in tune with buyers and recognize some of these behaviors as deterrents to closing a deal. More than one-third (35%) say they think misinformation is a major turn-off for buyers and similar portions say the same about repeated cold calls (33%) and lack of personal messaging (32%). Sales professionals also recognize a lack of trust in a brand (29%) or lack of previous knowledge about a brand (27%) can hurt them with potential buyers.
What influences a purchase boils down to five factors: trust in the brand, relationship with the sales rep, price, ROI and service after the sale. About half of buyers are more likely to purchase from a strong professional brand (49%) or a brand that offers a favorable price (47%). Where 44% of buyers say a rep not understanding their company’s needs was a deal-killer, the same percentage say a rep knowing about a brand’s needs would influence them to purchase.
This aligns with earlier research from RAIN Group which found that buyers want to see that a potential vendor has put effort into leading a thorough discovery of their concerns, wants and needs.
What Sellers Are Doing to Improve
Unfortunately, only 2 in 5 buyers see sales reps as trustworthy. In an attempt to improve this impression, nearly 4 in 5 (77%) say their organization is investing in sales intelligence platforms such as a CRM (70%) or a sales intelligence or engagement platform (both at 69%). With these technologies, businesses can collect new data such as demographics, website activity, behavior and more, helping improve their relationship with customers.
While about two-thirds (68%) of sales professionals say they are planning to invest more in these technologies in 2021 and more than half (53%) say they are confident in their CRM data, many sales and marketing professionals face significant challenges with the data they get from these platforms.
These sales professionals say their biggest challenges include incomplete data or inaccurate data. Inaccurate customer data – cited by 49% of reps as a major challenge – can come from buyers changing roles or companies and can result in the delay of a deal.
Measuring Salesperson Performance
LinkedIn also found sales performance metrics are shifting. Last year, sales professionals concentrated on using metrics such as individual quota (39%), team quota (38%) and customer satisfaction (38%) and retention (33%) to measure performance. This year they are focusing on activity quantity (37%), customer satisfaction (33%), and conversion (32%).
While it is important to note that Canada was not included in last year’s survey, LinkedIn hypothesizes this shift in metric focus was likely fueled by the challenges of the pandemic.
The full report can be found here.
About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of 400 buyers and 400 sellers each from the US and Canada.