Consider these stats:
- In 1991, Tim Berners-Lee, founder of the world wide web, published the first website (info.cern.ch). Ten years later there were over 29 million websites and today there are over 1.8 billion.
- Google, when launched in 1998, processed around 10,000 searches a day. It now receives around 2.5 billionqueries a day.
- Last year there were over 600 million active blogs. 70 million new blogposts are published each month on WordPress. Nearly 80% of the Fortune 500 uses a corporate blog to communicate to their customers.
- There are 57 million companies on LinkedIn. 2 million posts, articles and videos are published on the platform every day.
It’s all a far cry from the pre-internet days when information was scarce and a client’s ability to compare one supplier against another was limited. Today the pendulum has swung so far in the other direction that there is now too much information out there. The result is information overload for buyers. Buyers report that two-thirds of their buying journey is spent on gathering, processing and deconflicting information.
In addition, the word “buyers” is no longer correct. Buying groups are increasingly common in B2B sales. Research from Forrester shows that 63% of purchases involve four or more people, each of whom is likely to represent a different department and to play a different role in client decision-making. With numerous stakeholders involved on the buyer side, each independently uncovering information from different sources, it is easy to see how buyers find it difficult to find agreement between themselves about how to proceed.
It falls to the salesperson (consultant, account manager) to help clients to make sense of the information they have uncovered, to help them to deconflict contradictory evidence, to challenge their thinking and to coalesce them around a solution. Doing so enables the salesperson to demonstrate their knowledge, to establish credibility and to create that trusted partner relationship that creates the right environment for a sale to proceed.
Jim Bloomfield is a Director of Bloojam Consulting with 20 years’ experience of using business psychology to develop salespeople and leaders. He is a member of the Association of Business Psychology (ABP) and the British Psychological Society (BPS) and has successfully helped some of Britain’s best-known businesses exceed their sales goals.