The world of B2B sales has changed drastically in the past few years, so much so that it feels a bit like we’ve stepped into a time warp that sees drastic changes in stakeholder expectations including the time allotted for completion of all things demo.
There is a call to redefine the customer experience as prospective clients are now more educated and aware of the process in its entirety, and come to the table ready to be a fully integrated part of the exchange. Gone are the days that saw sales teams given weeks to prepare for a demo, as advances in “up to the second” technology have stakeholders asking and expecting same day demo delivery. And while this isn’t always too much to ask, it is, in fact, a drastic change for many who’ve been in the game for any significant period of time. When considering the Rule of 24 (the idea of 24 minutes allotted for preparation, rather than 24 days), it is important to note the research that supports our posit.
In 2017, we reached out to thousands of professionals via LinkedIn, as well as those who had attended a 2Win! Workshop, asking them to compare stakeholders encountered four years ago to those encountered today. There was an overwhelming response regarding the new place the stakeholder occupies. The following are points that stood out as imperative “need to knows” for teams who will no doubt encounter the new and improved B2B stakeholder:
- Stakeholders are more directive in what they want to see
- Stakeholders are more likely to interrupt the demonstrator to ask to see something of interest to them
- Stakeholders are more educated on product solutions prior to the demo
- Stakeholders want access to information (product videos, demos, pricing, etc.) like they experience in their consumer lives.
There are a myriad of reasons that these factors have changed so drastically over the past four years, but most can be attributed to the list below:
- Consumer purchasing expectations
- Technology experience
- Smaller purchases
- Shorter commitments
- Empowered research
- Generational differences
- Virtual meeting acceptance
- Cost pressures
- Time pressures
- Sun-setting perpetual product licensing
- SaaS, PaaS, Cloud
This information isn’t meant (or shared) to frighten you, but rather to aid you in understanding how to make the most of the limited time that is so often allowed in today’s B2B environment. Knowledge is power and, familiarizing yourself with the heightened level of understanding of potential clients will take you to the next level of the B2B game. There are six key strategies that we will examine in the coming weeks in an effort to assist you in bringing your team up to date on best practices to implement without massive reorganization, disruption of momentum, or budget blowouts.
- Video and video automation strategies that will improve prospect responsiveness, reach, and perception. (It is important to note that 9 out of 10 clients expect a demo video, so it is imperative that you have quality video automation tools capable of producing a quality video that meets stakeholder demands.)
- Virtual meeting strategies that will drive stakeholder engagement and effectiveness. We will look at not only the technology, but best practices for driving stakeholder engagement.
- Agile and responsive strategies for in-person meetings, presentations, and demos. We will explore ways to ensure that your stakeholders are pleased to attend your in-person events and, examine what should happen to offer your sales engagement members success.
- Improving teamwork in every event that requires more than one sales engagement team member.
- Assessment and coaching strategies for managers that will help you bring your entire team to Rule of 24 excellence.
- Organizational execution strategies for large, mid-market, small, startup, and reseller enterprises. These strategies are the steps executives in each of those enterprises need to transform their unique sales organization to this new paradigm.*
So, while the world of sales is constantly changing, it is important to note that you and your team can embrace this change in a positive way, all while expanding your client base. Keep reading over the coming months as we dive into the development of the tools needed to put you at the head of the sales game while utilizing Rule of 24!
*Taken from: Rule of 24: The Future of B2B Client Engagement by Daniel J. Conway and Robert D. Riefstahl