Have Sellers Become Lazy with Buyers in the Driver's Seat?

Oct 11, 2017 by Bill Golder

sales talent

A few years ago, analysts flooded the industry with a statistic that blew many of us away.

Companies don’t engage with sales reps until they are 57% of the way through the buying process.

To add to that, surveys like the one that Corporate Visions did confirmed that 78% of the 400 companies they asked agreed with the statistic.

Salespeople felt the challenge of that reality, but not everyone felt defeated by this new realization.

Marketers high fived over the idea that they now own more of the customer conversation and have a greater role of influence in the buying process.

So, what has changed for how companies operate since they nodded to the validity of this statistic?

#1: Disconnect between demand generation and the sales pipeline

Corporate Visions reported that only 11% of companies believe their conversion from content-driven leads to pipeline as “excellent.”

And 47% describe their lead content efforts as failing to make a traceable impact.

Most companies are stuck in producing product-centric or problem-based marketing content that doesn’t speak to a unique point of view.

Top B2B sellers are introducing prospects to unconsidered needs driven by external factors, new regulations, issues and challenges that are threatening their prospect’s business.

They are having business conversations instead of product conversations.

While top sellers are disrupting the status quo, average sellers are stuck having commoditized conversations.

Top sellers go beyond simply matching capabilities to a prospect's needs. They offer insights and illuminate unconsidered needs that change the conversation and separate them from their competition.

Can your prospect tell the difference between you and your competitors?

#2: Complacency for sales reps

If you believe prospects aren’t going to pick up the phone or meet with you until they are more than half way through the buying process, what’s the point of trying?

Sellers in many ways have been promised to be served up juicy marketing leads that will bubble up from marketers who own the early stages of the customer conversation.

There’s no need to cold call or prospect if the statistic has validity.

Yet, we see thriving B2B sales organizations not solely relying on marketing efforts to save the day. Instead, they are in lock step with marketing introducing prospects to unconsidered needs - those issues or challenges that they aren’t aware of and connecting them to their company’s strengths to solve them.

Are you creating urgency and uniqueness in how you position your company?

#3: Mixed messages between marketing and sales

It’s safe to say that prospects are probably confused. Corporate Visions found that only 29% of the companies they surveyed follow a well-established development process for their marketing campaigns.

We consistently see messaging gaps with B2B companies. There’s a missing link between their demand generation marketing efforts and the conversations that their sales reps are having in the field.

In some cases, sellers are left to generate their own materials that don’t reflect a distinct point of view which inevitably adds to the lack of continuity and confusion for potential customers.

Are you equipped with content that differentiates your offering and is consistent with your marketing messaging?

How you respond to this statistic could make the difference between you and your competition.

By most accounts, companies have done very little differently because of this new reality. You could change your growth trajectory by:

  1. Downloading and reviewing Corporate Vision’s report here
  2. Crafting a distinct point of view based on unconsidered needs
  3. Developing a repeatable and consistent messaging methodology


 Photo Credit: Shutterstock






About the Author

Bill Golder

Sales growth consultant with decades of small and large enterprise experience. Former CSO for Miller Heiman and Bulldog Solutions.



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