Why B2B Sales People Are Not Going Away Anytime Soon.

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Automated qualification of leads from your website and social campaigns...

Why B2B Sales People Are Not Going Away Anytime Soon.

It has been said that sales is all about relationships. That has never been more true than in the current world of B2B sales. The world has changed significantly over the last 20 years, now if you want to buy a book, make up, clothes there are plenty of websites where you can place a direct order and have it sent to your house. No stress and no mess. But what happens when you have a more complex product or one which is for your business what happens then.

Going back a few years the role of the sales person was really to hunt, inform and sell. They went hunting for clients, informing them about the company/product that they are selling and hopefully close and sell the product. Now the power has shifted, the internet means that anyone that wants a product or service has access to all the information they need right at their fingertips on their own phone. So now a sales person’s role has become to help facilitate the sale to customers who have already shown some interest in your product or to look for similar customers to those who have purchased your product before. Customers want their salespeople to act more like guides, pointing out interesting information you would not get from just reading the website and helping them through the buying process.

These leads that come because someone has looked for you and sought out your company are “inbound leads.” These leads are the holy grail for a sales person, someone showing genuine interest in your company and wanting more information. Web leads come under this heading and on average companies will get 20-30% of their leads through these channels. These leads are highly profitable as the closure rates are higher and the cost of acquiring are much lower.

There is another level of inbound leads, where a lead trades their details for some content like a white paper or presentation. These leads are showing an interest in your subject area and the best companies should be calling these people as soon as something is downloaded from the site. Your contact rates are 100 times higher calling after 5 minutes vs even 30 minutes. So response speed for leads really are vital and that is where the salesperson comes in.

The customer has a huge variety of companies to choose from, so the salesperson is still needed to help them with their choice. B2B sales are complex, high value sales, in this case the customer needs someone to guide them through the process. Help them understand what makes them stand out from other companies. Sales is still a human-to-human process and the more complex the product or deal the more it requires humans to make the sale.

So yes, there are always going to be new channels and new systems to help automate the sales process. The actual act of selling, particularly in the B2B space is still done person-to-person. We still crave that human touch and interaction, maybe not in all our transactions but in those we consider high value.

We should look at B2B selling like fine dining and B2C selling more like fast food. If someone is buying a low value product, they are looking for different qualities such as speed, efficiency and cost effectiveness. When you are buying a high value product the aspects you look for are quality, reliability and service.

So while you would not mind it so much if McDonalds made their entire ordering process automated because it got you to your goal quicker i.e. eating a McDonalds burger. You would not feel the same way if you were eating in a 3 star Michelin restaurant where you expect your waiter to recommend what wine to eat with each dish and to be able to explain the menu in great detail.

So although the road ahead is not going to be easy for B2B sales people, rest assured that there will always be a place for you at the table.

For more posts on B2B sales check out the ones below

How to get more B2B leads from the internet

Are you missing out on these valuable sources of B2B leads

By Zal Dastur

April 6th, 2016

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