B2B buyers only spend 17% of their time meeting with you — their potential suppliers. The rest of their time is spent researching elsewhere and having internal meetings about their project — when you’re not there. That’s according to Gartner’s latest research.
Gartner suggests buyers spend over a third of their time (38%) in internal meetings, with others in the buying centre, where salespeople are not present.
“Today’s buying journey isn’t just hard — it has reached a tipping point where it’s become nearly unnavigable without a significant amount of help,” said Brent Adamson, principal executive advisor at Gartner.
“However, customers today don’t really care where that help comes from. A conversation with a sales rep isn’t an end in itself, it’s simply a means to gathering the information necessary to complete specific buying ‘jobs.’ But, what matters isn’t the conversation, it’s the information provided.”
“Much like sales enablement, sales organizations must focus on what we call ‘buyer enablement’,” Adamson says. “Sales teams need to harness empathy, and their deep industry and customer knowledge to develop and deploy information to help buyers buy — just as they do to enable sellers to sell more easily.”
Gartner defines it as:
“Buyer enablement is the provision of information that supports the completion of critical buying jobs.”
In other words, it’s the age-old challenge of getting the right information to the right person at the right time.
Two areas of buyer enablement:
1. Prescriptive advice involves do-this or don’t-do-this recommendations to ease the buyer’s journey.
2. Practical support gives customers the tools to action the prescriptive advice.
“So buyer enablement is about salespeople acting as “information connectors… curators or brokers of information rather than individual experts,” Adamson suggests.
So salespeople need to offer the buyer helpful tools and data. To help them simplify the buying process. This increases the chances that buyers will make a higher-value investment and reduce the chances they will fear regretting their investment.
As soon as B2B buyers add multiple suppliers to the process they spend even less time with your salespeople — as the above mentioned 17 percent of time with suppliers is split among all of them.
“If they are speaking to three potential suppliers you only get an average of 5-6 percent of their time.”
“When you start looking at this world of buying and just how complex it’s become, with all the different people involved and the amount of information… as individuals, we have incredibly limited access to our customers to have any kind of impact on all of that complexity,” Adamson says.
I personally translate this as, a major role for salespeople today is to help buyers to help themselves. Help them identify the best-fit solution and to sell their preferred solution internally. Enabling buyers to cut through the noise in their own organization, the competition, and your own organization’s noise. Be a trusted advisor to guide the buyer to make the best-informed decision and close the deal together.
Questions to consider:
- How are you maximizing the limited time you have with clients?
- How can you best support your customer through the buying process?
- Is your sales and marketing optimized to help your ideal client’s buy?
What are your thoughts and experiences on this topic? Please share your feedback below.
[Writted by Adrian O’Gara, Founder & Principle at O’Gara-Co. First published 22 October 2018. Updated 5 September 2019.]