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The Good Old Days Are Gone: Four Essential Truths to Enhance Sales Efforts

We all know it: these days, finding ways to effectively engage buyers is quite simply harder than it used to be. Sending more newsletters and spinning events may have worked the first 100 times, but it’s no longer a best practice. Privacy regulations like GDPR have contributed to making old strategies like mass email campaigning obsolete in short order. The modern B2B buying journey has evolved – and in turn, has created some hard truths that sellers must accept to remain competitive. Buyers need input they trust to keep progressing through their buying cycle. That’s why the world’s leading companies are joining the peer-to-peer selling movement which includes different techniques, communication strategies, and marketing solutions. Here are four basic truths for our brave new (marketing) world:

TRUTH #1 | Buyers don’t trust you.
In fact, they trust the barista at Starbucks more than B2B sales and marketers these days! You’ve got to give sincere thought to your marketing efforts to achieve measurable results.

TRUTH #2 | Buyers trust other buyers’ opinions.
With low levels of trust in vendors, buyers are turning to their peers for advice before making purchase decisions. There is a strength in numbers here, as the masses have no hidden agenda in sharing their customer experiences – whether they be above expectations, or terrible. Everyone loves to share their story, and in fact Nielsen recently reported that consumers are four times as likely to buy when referred by someone they know.

On top of this, 49% of B2B buyers rank “Peers and Colleagues” as a top choice impacting purchasing decisions, rising from 20% in 2015 (DemandGen, 2016 B2B Buyers Survey Report). There is a 50% greater conversion rate when customer advocacy is integrated into the sales process (Mainstay Partners). The value in creating brand champions from your customers is pretty clear, no?

TRUTH #3 | Buyers have larger groups to work with.
The average B2B buying committee now averages close to seven people, which is way up from where it was just a few years ago. According to CEB, the average B2B buying group today consists of 6.8 people, which has grown from 5.4 in 2014. (CEB)

On average, there are 17 buyer interactions in a committee-buying scenario. Nine of those are human (SiriusDecisions, 2015 B-to-B Buying Study). So what does this mean? You need to get buyers the information they need in an organized and concise manner, and this includes the numbers AND the content.

TRUTH #4 | Buyers are overwhelmed by vendor content.
While creating content for every stage of the buying cycle is necessary, there’s only so much information a buyer can digest before it becomes white noise for them to filter – or worse, ignore completely. In fact, according to Tellwise, the average buyer gets 100+ emails a day, opens just 23%, and clicks on just 2% of them. This is likely a generous estimate.

To break it down: 45% of B2B marketing budgets are devoted to content marketing. 84% of marketers expect their content marketing spend to INCREASE in the next 5 years. And yet, 67% of marketers cannot articulate a concrete business impact from their content marketing efforts (CEB, 2016). This is a lot of work, and not a lot of incentive in terms of knowing whether efforts are making an impact on, or even reaching, the buyer. So why all the work, if you can’t benefit from the results?

Peer-to-Peer Selling | What’s the Deal?
Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Selling is a results-driven methodology that helps make the connections between existing customer advocates and potential buyers at every stage of the sales funnel. Boiled down, it’s about leveraging the voice of your happy customers to influence potential buyers during their purchasing journey. It enables deeper engagement and lessens content overload during the sales cycle by providing the peer-driven evidence salespeople need to help the buyer progress through each stage.

P2P Selling is nothing new. The world’s best salespeople have been selling like this since the invention of the Rolodex. But Marketing is revolutionizing peer-to-peer techniques to enable Sales and impact results by helping them uncover compelling, sincere customer stories to bring to their prospects and the market through a wider variety of techniques than ever.

Take Action Now
B2B sales has become a customer-centric pursuit where referrals, peer influence, and customer references are critical. It’s time to start thinking differently and practice peer-to-peer strategies for greater sales enablement and revenue generation. And we’re here to help you get there. See how RO Innovation’s solutions suite can take your peer-to-peer selling efforts to new heights by scheduling a demo today.

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