Good morning. Sharing a great overview from a meeting that I attended last week. I've posted below some of the key trends that were discussed. They include the following:
GROWTH IS A TOP PRIORITY OF CEOs
Research shows that the biggest challenge for many companies is finding strategies that will help them to achieve growth.
According to "Gartner’s 2020 CEO and Senior Executive Survey", CEOs of large and medium-sized companies consider growth their top strategic priority in 2019-2020.
THE CHANGING B2B SALES PROCESS
According to HubSpot's 'Not Another State of Marketing Report', only 29% of buyers want to learn more about products by talking to salespeople.
Forrester reports that 59% of buyers prefer to do their own research rather than interacting with sales reps because sales reps "push a sales agenda rather than helping solve a problem.”
Purchase decisions are also made before contacting salespeople. In fact, research has shown that 57% of clients' decisions are made before they speak to salespeople.
Clients make a buying decision based on all the information they have found, and it is only then that they might reach out to a company to complete the purchase.
This statistic presents a problem for salespeople, especially if they are not in a position to influence a client's decision early enough.
Sales are getting less predictable because salespeople are no longer in charge of a large part of the buying process. Furthermore, instead of helping prospects in the path to purchase, salespeople are still focusing on selling.
This presents challenges for B2B sales teams, and 34% of salespeople think that it is getting harder to close deals because of the changing sales process.
LONG SALES CYCLE
One of the major challenges hindering the growth of B2B businesses is long sales cycles to attempting to stand out. Almost 75% of sales for new B2B new take up to four months to complete, and nearly 50% take seven months or more.
Studies have shown that the average B2B sales cycle length has increased by 22% in the past five-year period.
This is a huge setback, as prospects are more likely to have second thoughts, change their minds, and end all sales discussions if the average sales cycle is long.
Moreover, Harvard Business Review reports that businesses with an established sales cycle grow their revenue 18% faster than businesses that lack one.
The increased length of the sales cycle is attributed to the large number of people involved in the sales cycle and the abundance of knowledge available to consumers to help them make decisions.
FAILURE TO MEET SALES QUOTA
The B2B sales cycle has become so complex that 57% of sales representatives expect to miss their sales quota.
According to a study by ValueSelling Associates, Inc. and Selling Power, that asked over 300 B2B salespeople about their quotas, 69% of the B2B salespeople say they won't reach their quota due to the lack of enough leads in their pipeline.
B2B sellers have limited chances to actively engage customers and make some sales because they spend most of their time on non-core and administrative tasks.
According to a HubSpot study, sales representatives allocate a good deal of time scheduling client calls (12%), updating data (17%), writing emails (21%), attending meetings (12%), and conducting research (17%), leaving only 34% of the time for actual selling for salespeople.
Richardson reports that the main issues in generating leads for B2B sellers are creating contact with the appropriate stakeholder (12%) and gaining appointments (14%). According to SalesStaff, salespeople spend 64.3% of their time on non-selling tasks, and at least half of their leads aren't a great fit for what they're selling.
Inertia is among the main obstacles to growth faced by 56% of businesses in B2B markets, as it makes it hard to convince people to switch from competing vendors and brands.
Countering the competition is a challenge for nearly half of marketers (49%). Companies miss out on a target customer, even when their products or services are better than those of its competitors.
They also fail to persuade their prospects that they are the better option.
The failure of B2B companies to focus on customer retention means that competitors can easily acquire their customers. Selling to existing customers has a 60% to 70% chance of success but only 5% to 20%for prospects.
As compared to new leads, customers spend 31% more and are 50% more willing to try new services and products. All these statistics show that the failure to adopt customer retention strategies hinders the growth of a company.
LOW CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT
B2B companies usually look at acquisition of their competitors as a means to achieve growth. However, this strategy usually hits a wall at some point.
According to Gallup, organic growth has more long-term potential, and the main way to achieve this is by using existing customers to get more business.
This approach also poses a big challenge to B2B companies because research shows that out of all B2B customers, 29%are engaged, 11% are actively disengaged and 60% are indifferent. It is almost impossible to achieve organic growth with such low engagement levels.
When it comes to profitability, relationship growth, revenue and share of wallet, fully engaged customers represent a premium of 23% over average customers, and actively disengaged customers provide a discount of 13%. These statistics show that establishing a connection with customers is critical for the growth and success of a B2B company.
Most sellers, however, do not make use of emotional engagement with their customers. On the contrary, they use product and price to captivate their buyers. However, B2B customers are not impulse buyers; they tend to stick with brands for longer periods, so mere customer acquisition is not as important as customer retention in making sure they don't switch to competitors.
FAILURE TO ALIGN SALES AND MARKETING
The alignment of sales and marketing teams leads to 36% more customer retention, achievement of a 38% higher win rate, and the generation of 32% more revenue.
Furthermore, according to Sirius Decisions, this alignment leads to 27% faster profit growth and 24% faster growth rates in a year. However, these teams usually work separately in most B2B companies and only 8% of companies have strong alignment between the two.
LOW CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT
Most marketers are under pressure to show that their marketing campaigns are paying off. In reality, this is the second-largest obstacle that marketers face in their jobs, and it's the second-largest explanation why they can't get c-suite approval for marketing costs.
When more marketing platforms are in use, problems occur, as does a lack of understanding of which KPIs are necessary for a client's success.
A significant B2B marketing issue is demonstrating ROI (Return on Investment). According to a HubSpot report, showing the ROI of their sales efforts is the biggest B2B problem for 40% of marketers.
For additional insights from Anthony's State of B2B Sales, download the report below:
So what should a CEO and Sales Leader do today to set-up their team for success in the future? Read and our most viewed blog on Modern Selling to learn the key essentials for setting your team up to WIN