B2B sales is at an inflection point as socioeconomic changes, new buying habits and technological advances transform the way sellers engage with B2B buyers. Suppliers and sellers must respond to this. But first things first.
What is a sale? First, a sale is a formal, legal transaction between two parties. It is generally defined as a willing exchange of goods, services or assets for money or other forms of payment. Traditionally, sales took place in a physical market. This meant that sellers and buyers met and there was no guarantee of success. If a buyer didn't like what they saw or couldn't afford it, the initiated deal was over. Today, however, the game has changed and digital networks, or the Internet, have virtually taken over and replaced the physical market.
If you look at the History of Innovation Cycles (which was coined and elaborated by Joseph Schumpeter, one of the most influential economists of the early 20th century), you can see a continuous evolution over the last 250 years, from the time of the Industrial Revolution to the sustainable technology of today.
Currently, we are moving rapidly toward the sixth wave. Innovation is happening faster than ever before, and we are approaching another inflection point. We are all very excited about what is to come. At this point, it's all about Artificial Intelligence and Digitization in the areas of Information of Things (IoT), Robotics and Drones. They are changing the way we live, work and play. At the same time, people are talking about climate concerns and other environmental issues. The sixth wave is about how we can use these technologies to make our lives more sustainable and environmentally friendly. The question on everyone's mind is: How will all these technologies affect us and our lives?
The Internet has now had a significant impact on our economic growth and has permanently changed the way we humans communicate and do business around the world. The Internet has not only become indispensable, it has become an indispensable requirement for our existence. Both in economic and private terms. And all within a single generation. Incredible.
On the one hand, the Internet, with its remarkably large community of 5 billion users (as of April 2022, Data Portal), Big Data and technology have transformed business by making it easier than ever before and also more efficient, saving numerous costs and time. On the other hand, they have presented companies and vendors with a new radical challenge, as the basic rules of the game have now changed dramatically! The market is undoubtedly becoming more transparent and competitive. Today's consumers are more educated, value experience more and, especially with the rise of digitalization, are more aware and demanding of their options when it comes to pricing. They want the best value for their money and, most importantly, they want it fast. They are also concerned about the environmental impact of their consumer behavior, which means they are more likely to choose products that align with their beliefs.
Basically, customers don't want to be sold, but they do want to buy. They are looking for satisfaction of their needs and answers and solutions to their problems. They want someone to help them find those solutions, rather than selling them something that may or may not solve their problem.
This is especially true for the new generations of consumers we have. It's no secret that the new generations of consumers (Millennials and Generation Z) are very different from those of the past. They are more interested in utility than possessions, they value the customer experience more than anything else, they value luxury and hedonism, and they are very sensitive to social and environmental issues.
The question is: How can you reach them effectively? What kind of marketing strategy should you use? What would be the best approach to address such a highly individualized market? The answer should revolve around personalization, KOIs (online influencers), earned media (every single one of your customers is your brand ambassador), creative and highly engaging content on the right channels, and social responsibility to create positive change in the world. (Check out our blog on Messaging.)
In the B2B world, traditional sales practices are undergoing a revolution. More than ever, salespeople and executive leaders need to understand their customers and connect with them in new ways. Customers are searching for information online, researching competitors and comparing products. We are seeing new B2B practices at work as companies evolve in their efforts to engage customers and build relationships that lead to profitable sales outcomes.
Thank you for reading and best regards,