Sellers and Buyers Out of Sync: What the CEO Should Do

Jul 22, 2021 | Sales, Sales Relationships

The way people buy has changed drastically over the last 18 months. Today I want to talk about what the CEO needs to do in the organization when sellers and buyers are out of sync.

Consider the following:

  • 43% of B2B buyers prefer a rep-free experience, hypothetically. When asked, they claim, “If I could, I would.” And why not? They are used to a digital experience when making a B2C purchase.
  • 54% of Millennials prefer a rep-free experience, a growing audience for most of us.  

These statistics come from the recent Gartner research revealed at their conference in May 2021.  

If your company doesn’t allow for a rep-free experience, you are out of sync with half of your audience.  

What does this mean? And how do you, as CEO, fix it?

How to Align with Digital Buyers 

There are really only two choices. First, upskill your sellers so customers want to talk to them. Second, train and expect them to provide an insightful and valuable experience. The buying journey is hard.  

Or invest in providing a digital experience to align with buyers evolving preferences.  

In my opinion, you need to do both.  

It requires a change in strategy that the CEO needs to be involved with. It’s not just about upskilling sellers; it’s about aligning to the way customers want to buy. This requires several departments besides sales to get involved.  

>> Sales focuses on sellers. 

>> Marketing focuses on the digital experience. 

>> The CEO focuses on the strategy needed to win. 

The Strategy 

The strategy needs to help buyers make sense of the information they are receiving digitally and from a sales rep. So the question becomes, “How do we give the customer confidence to decide whether it includes our solution or not?” 

Since many deals these days are being lost to ‘No decision,’ we have to change our tactics to include what Gartner refers to as Sense-Making.  

The key drivers, according to Gartner, are Consensus, Differentiation, and Reps. 

Consensus: The buying group has to reach a consensus on business problems and solutions before reaching a consensus on the final solution. 

Differentiation: It’s difficult to differentiate many solutions digitally or with a sales rep. It’s what the customer perceives to be different that is driving their actions.  

Reps: If a rep explains the offering, they need to help the customer understand better than they could without the rep.  

Businesswoman working with headset on computer.
Consider the human brain in a digitally dominated world. What pivots does your company need to make? 
  • How can your company provide a better digital buying experience? 
  • How can your sellers integrate with the digital buying experience and meet the buyers where they are? 
  • What is the change in strategy needed at your company? 

The research tells you that your sales process is not aligned with the way your customer wants to buy. 

You are out of sync. How do you get in sync? 

Alice Heiman
Alice Heiman

Alice is nationally known for her expertise in elevating sales to increase valuation for companies with a B2B complex sale that have exceptional growth potential. She’s originally, from the widely known Miller Heiman Group. Spending her time strategizing with CEOs and their leadership teams to build the strategies that find new business and grow existing accounts is her passion.  Her clients love her spirit and the way she energizes their sales organization.


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