Gartner issue some great content every quarter, here is a summarization of "Chief Sales Officer - First Quarter of 2021".

In addition to this, I highly recommend you listen to this Gartner webinar.  Of course they are trying to sell you something, but you can still pick out a lot of insight from around the bones of the advert. 

Gartner say in this report that "Current and Emerging Trends Affecting CSOs Each year, CSOs must consider how emerging trends affect the efforts their organizations make to adapt and stay ahead of their peers.  The recent economic upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has added another layer of complexity, as sales leaders must now consider a confluence of current disruptions in addition to emerging trends to make the right strategic investments.  These disruptions and trends include

:• Changing buyer preferences, specifically the “everywhere customer” who move easily and frequently between digital and in-person channels in a far more fluid and continuous process

• Financial uncertainty exacerbated by a lack of clarity around the way customer businesses will recover, making it more difficult to forecast sales

• A potential return-to-work situation and the challenge of deciding who and how much of the salesforce continues to stay virtual, impacting sales force deployment and go-to market strategies"

This is common sense, but what does Gartner say about the transformation of the buyer to digital?

"Despite an increased complexity and uncertainty in buying, B2B buyers are only reluctantly turning to sales reps for support. Today, only 17% of the total purchase journey is spent in interactions with sales reps, and 33% of all buyers desire a seller-free sales experience — a preference that climbs to 44% for millennials.  Moreover, we predict that by 2025, 80% of B2B sales interactions will occur in digital channels.  In this environment, sales reps become just one of many possible sales channels, and suppliers will need to respond accordingly by meeting customers on their preferred channels, ideally  by leveraging digital commerce solutions."

It's interesting, that Gartner think that because buyers want a seller free buying process, this means that buyers will switch to e-commerce.  What you have to remember is that most buyers ignore websites, why?  Because they were designed in an age of "interruption" and "broadcast".  They all tell a story of "buy my product because i'm great", which has no place in the world of sales and marketing today.

The problem that buyers have is that salespeople are still the enemy, they are seen as manipulative and add friction to the buying process.  Which is why the modern buyer will ignores the seller.  So what as a business should you do about this? 

How can you business get a competitive advantage from this?

It means that your prospect and customer ARE on digital.

They are spending time on social media and if you are not there, then you are invisible.

Now most people will be thinking, we are on social, so this does not apply to me. Right? Wrong.

Being on social means:-

1. Being social - This does not mean buying ads on social, nobody looks at ads.

2. Being consistent - Some people say to us, " we are killing it on social" what they mean is they are posting something every two weeks, which again, people ignore.  Every day you don't post on social you are invisible to your clients.  Posting once every two weeks, means you are invisible to your clients, 13 out of 14 days.

3. Being authentic - Nobody is interested in your company or it's products, your only unique selling point (USP) is your people, their collective experience, their personality and their purpose.

4. Being human - Since the beginning of time, in B2B (business to business) sales there has been this saying that "people buy people".  It's still true.  Your buyers are looking for your salespeople to be human and to share content about themselves.  In our research, this is the most attractive thing you can do with your prospects and customers.  It shows empathy, it build trust and it shows you are just like me.  If people, know you, like you and trust you, they are very likely to buy from you.

5. Being helpful - In the world of B2B enterprise, buyers have always looked for somebody to help them.  To provide them with insight, to educate, to tell them something they don't know.  The challenge to you is to empower your sales team to be that "north star" in their territory, vertical, sector.

6. Not selling - Nobody likes to be sold to, so why do we do it as soon as we get to work? Salespeople are the enemy.  Let's stop the "buy my product because we are great" message and be authentic, human, helpful, consistent and social and you will see a wonderful transformation happen.

Salespeople are disliked and we all avoid them, when in sales you are authentic, human, helpful, consistent and social, buyers walk towards you.

This is the transformation that takes place on social, moving away from the pitched battles with clients, the manipulation -- imagine the power of empowering your prospects and clients and people walking towards you to be your clients.

All sounds very fluffy Tim, what does this means from a $ prospective?

It would be normal that clients get a 30% increase in revenue and a 40% reduction in sales cycle.

Or put another way, with social, you should see each salesperson getting an additional meeting a week.  Let's assume for every 4 meetings you get one proposal.  Let's assume for every 3 proposals you get a sale.  This means that each salesperson will sell an additional deal per quarter.  If your average deal size is $100,000, that means each salesperson is generating an additional $400,000 per year ... this is not just for one year, this is forever.

Just think what that looks like if you scale that across your salesforce?

We are seeing results better than this since the pandemic, but that's a good place for you to budget.

And finally ...

Late last year McKinsey and Co reported that its corporate clients experienced on average 7 years of digital transformation in the first six months of 2020 as they hustled to adjust to the global economic COVID disruption. 

Another way to think of that statistic is that if you didn't start transforming your business in those months you are now 7 years behind your competitors!

Where Do We Go From Here?

Just give me, or one of the DLA Ignite team and hour of your time and we can walk you through what we are doing in the form of case studies, what we are doing for other businesses to transform them to digital.  No hard sell, just practical examples.

DLA Ignite is a global business and we understand that a "cookie cutter" approach to digital does not work, we have to take into account local language and cultural sensitivities.  Which is why we have built teams across the globe, that can support you by country and industry sector. 

For more information contact me here, visit our website, or visit our Linkedin company page and contact one of the DLA Ignite team members.