Hi all! I’m writing to you from beautiful Las Vegas, where LeveragePoint is sponsoring the CEB, Now Gartner’s Sales and Marketing Summit. I sit here soaking my sore feet, reflecting on Day 1. I met so many great people, and listened to incredible thought leaders share their expertise on the past, present, and future of sales and marketing. From all that information, I took away three key themes:
- “Digital is going to take us on a journey whether we like it or not.”
The digital age is here, and it’s not going anywhere. Brent Adamson, Principal Executive Advisor at CEB, says that it’s an “inescapable evolution.” 93%, 94%, and 83% of B2B buyers use digital channels in the early, middle, and late stages of their buying journey, respectively. This promotes a tough buying environment for sellers: bigger buying groups, overwhelmed buyers, “good enough” buying, and stalled deals. “Empowered” buyers are becoming overwhelmed buyers, with too much information and too many stakeholders, leading to stalled deals or no decision at all. An evolving response to the tough environment is marketing and sales investments in digital capabilities.
- “B2B buying is a moving target.”
Your prospects are engaging with you through multiple channels, simultaneously. 27% of the overall buying journey is spent researching independently, online (digital marketing is key here!). 22% is spent meeting with an internal buying group (they’re 49% of the way through, and still haven’t spoken with sales). 18% is spent researching independently, offline. 16% is spent doing “other.” Finally, just 17% of the overall buying journey is spent meeting with potential buyers (but remember, you’re not the only buyer). This doesn’t mean the role of a sales rep is obsolete by any means; it’s more important than ever. The slice of that 17% that you do get, needs to be customer-focused, value-driven, and of course, digital. Which brings me to my next theme:
- “Just because in-person begins, doesn’t mean digital ends.”
Keynote speaker, Brent Adamson, says that if we take anything away from this conference, it should be this. It’s vital to arm your reps with digital tools that guide their in-person conversations, establish credibility, and speak directly to customer pain points.
In summary: Suppliers have limited access to buyers. Much of that access is not in-person, it’s online. Just because in-person begins, doesn’t mean digital ends. Alignment across channels is key. Create a single view of you for your customers.
Stay tuned for more from my experience at CEB, and in the meantime check out how LeveragePoint helps empower sales conversations with our digital, interactive tool.