Will we finally put the buyer at the center of our sales?

4 min read
Apr 29, 2024 2:38:42 PM
Selling your product or service has always been very important for businesses. Logical, because if there are no sales, the costs are not covered and the company has no right to exist. Certainly here in Eindhoven, hard lessons were learned in the 1980s and early 1990s.

accent-line-red-xl

In the market of 25 years ago, matching supply and demand was relatively simple. You came up with a product/service, made sure you were in the picture of potential buyers, and then the deal followed. In today's complex world, of course, this is still going on in essence. However, both in supply and demand in channels, markets, products and services have changed enormously in complexity, diversity and multiplicity. Just try to sell your product or service.

If you can, because unlike 25 years ago, the buying side (the demand side) has gained much more power through digital information. You as a provider will have to become visible in his or her buying process. Thereby, IT technology in the current commercial process can not only improve the information position of the buying side, but most certainly also the position of the selling side. And that goes beyond a simple CRM system.

Every B2B company can basically be a mini Google or Apple

Many companies look jealously at Google or Apple because they obviously have a lot of data on millions, say billions of people using their services/products. This data is actually their revenue model. Now don't hear us saying that you as a company can set up the same data-driven business model. However, you can most certainly deploy smart and modern technology to make the sales process, but better yet the customer's buying process such that frictions and frustrations disappear from this process, and your business starts to grow. That's what you're doing it for.

Web 2.0 and beyond

Now there is a clear distinction to be made between somewhat newer and relatively older B2B companies. Let me focus first on B2B companies whose business model is based on knowledge and skills from well before 2010. At that time, Internet technology still played a marginal role in the commercial process and people were content with websites and the wonderful medium of email. With the advent of Web 2.0 technology, a new generation of tools entered the market and almost all of them are cloud-based. Precisely with these modern cloud based sales, marketing and customer service tools, there is a world to be gained for precisely many of these companies.

Information paradox

Many old-style B2B companies built their leading position in this (often niche) market from their leading position in product technology. Because of this product-centric focus, they were perfectly capable of working the market through trade fairs and traditional sales channels and shaping their position through information scarcity in the market.

Today, however, there is no longer a scarcity of information but rather the opposite; information overload. If you now type something into a search engine about any subject, you get thousands of results and can often gather information within a short time to make a good choice or gain knowledge about a particular subject. As a company, you should want to stand among these and claim your authority.

Stop selling, start helping

The right place, the right information, at the right time. This is where the shoe pinches for many traditional B2B companies. They are still insufficiently able to make their knowledge and expertise, which they have as market leader, visible in the customer's buying process. Many companies are even reluctant to do so because they have gained their position precisely by protecting their knowledge.

Now we are not saying: throw all your trade secrets on the Internet. No!!! But we do advise that you unlock that knowledge in such a way that it matches what a potential buyer is looking for. And then it shouldn't be a slick sales pitch, but it should really help the potential buyer in making a substantively sound choice.

Information about your prospect

The adage, knowledge is power and what you give you get back, holds true in today's digital age more than ever. So unlock that knowledge and make sure your website becomes your best sales person. Not, as in e-commerce, to close the deal immediately, but to mutually gauge whether there is a win-win.

Too often we see hungry sales people forget about prospects. Collecting information/data about a potential customer is hugely interesting and the more information you have and organize it in an automated way, the more likely you are to do business. Think of data on company size, size/complexity of the DMU, turnover, what did/do they view/open, what is the history, but also how do you address a prospect based on AI profiling. And you don't have to manually pull all this data together. No way. That's exactly what smart software is for.

Traditional Sales vs. Modern Sales

Sales is still done in a traditional way in many places in B2B. Think of generating leads, visiting these leads and then closing deals. Of course there is nothing wrong with these activities, indeed this is still the core of any sales process. No, the innovation lies in the fact that these three process steps must each be performed differently, with different tools, and especially from a different mindset. If you do that, there is considerable profit to be made.

quote-example

Want to stay updated on all HubSpot changes? Subscribe to our newsletters, follow us on Instagram or join our HubSpot User Days!

Explore HubSpot User Days