For decades, the best sales courses taught sellers to treat prospects like targets. That approach bears little to no fruit in today’s B2B marketplace. Today’s B2B buyer is more informed and thus more discriminating. Instead of sellers that dictate solutions, those buyers are now looking for collaborators.
This seismic shift in the B2B buying cycle means negotiators need a more consultative approach if they want to hit it out of the park. Here’s a look at how harnessing big data can help sellers adapt to their new roles and edge out their competition.
Negotiations rooted in trust often equate to higher-quality agreements. However, building trust with B2B customers has never been harder. Studies that have drilled down on causes of the widening trust gap conclude that poor quality information is a top culprit.
For example, a report by PathFactory and Heinz shows almost 50% of B2B buyers find vendor information irrelevant.
B2B buyers wrestle with high-stakes decisions. For example, making a wrong choice could result in job loss or could cripple the business. Therefore, there’s an urgent need for credible information.
Tapping into big data analytics can unearth more accurate, timely, and highly relevant information. Therefore, the demand for candidates with masters in data science is growing rapidly.
When B2B sellers can consistently meet and exceed their buyers’ information expectations, trust usually follows.
Better Predict Prospective Buyer Behavior
Although B2B deals are lucrative, they can take a staggering amount of time to a button-down. One survey of sales leaders found that selling to business clients can take anywhere from four to seven months.
Watching a deal crumble after spending weeks or even months can knock the wind out of your sails. Not to mention that the time and money spent is unrecoverable.
So, it’s important to spend your efforts where they have the best chance to bear results.
Sales negotiation training courses say understanding buyer behavior can help sellers ensure that key resources are not flushed down the drain. One source of reliable information on buyer behavior is intent data.
Intent data, also called predictive analytics, can provide insights into not only which companies are more likely to buy from you, but also when.
So how do you get your hands on intent data? Predictive data can be collected through your own site or content libraries.
You can track and aggregate data about the actions your potential buyers are taking when they visit your site and the extent of their searches.
Also, consider investing in predictive data from third-party providers.
These providers can give you data that shows buyer activity across the internet to provide you actionable intel so you can shorten the time it takes to close deals.
Drive Repeat Business
Growth is key to long-term B2B survival, and repeat customers hold the key to success. Studies show that the odds of selling to an existing customer is 60-70% compared to 5-20% with a new prospect.
A data-driven customer retention strategy can help fuel repeat business. For example, customer retention analytics can shed light on customer churn.
Some of the main reasons why B2B buyers switch brands include:
- Uncompetitive prices
- Long lead times
- Unfavorable terms
When you know why customers leave, you can be proactive about getting them to stay.
A deep dive into customer post-purchase behavior can also give you invaluable insights into their likes and dislikes. Understanding customer preferences can help you better personalize their buying journey.
According to McKinsey, personalization drives customer loyalty. Customer loyalty is the bedrock for repeat business.
Identify New Markets
Diversification is often the key to expansion and business growth. Setting your sights on new markets can open the door to new opportunities and brand new revenue streams.
Yet, breaking into new markets can be a tall order. Not to mention that expansion is loaded with risk.
For instance, you can create a new product to meet a particular market segment only to have it crash and burn before it turns a profit.
So, to avoid costly mistakes, sales training courses advise using information gathered from customers as a guide.
Tracking customer activities can not only help identify new markets but also assess the risk. For example, analytics can help you uncover whether you’re investing in a trend or a fad.
With accurate data, you can map out more informed strategies. In addition, analytics can help you determine when to pivot.
For instance, if you launch a new product and it tanks, instead of bowing out of the market completely, you can fine-tune your offering to better match the market needs.
Better Understand the Competition
Competition is red hot in the B2B landscape, so it’s important to stay on your toes. Also, B2B buyers are constantly ready to jump ship.
According to Accenture, 80% of frequent business buyers switch suppliers at least once within 24 months.
Mining big data can help negotiators better identify and size up their competition. Digging into analytics can also help uncover which value propositions make the biggest impact on buyers.
By analyzing the trends, you can get an inside view that helps you to adjust how you present your product or service to buyers.
In addition, with big data, you can get a handle on the promotional models that other sellers are using with success to reach out to B2B buyers.
Knowing which competitors are part of the conversation with a prospect and what value proposition works best can help you win more deals.
B2B negotiations can test the mettle of even the most experienced professionals. Sales training courses say learning how to collect and use analytics can help sellers become a value add to customers while also staying competitive.
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