It’s obvious that the pandemic forced the buyer/seller relationship online. The organizations that survived this transition and thrived are the ones who quickly adapted to fit this new world.
The reality is that digitization was always going to happen – it has been anticipated for quite some time. COVID simply accelerated its arrival by about five years.
We foresee the arrival of a hybrid frontline sales professional, who will totally embrace all the advantages that technology provides but, at the same time, be prepared for face-face sales events, when their prospect/customer/client requires. Those occasions will most likely be reserved for important milestones in the buying process, like the initial exploratory meeting, final contract negotiations, quarterly business reviews. etc.
So, the question for business captains is not when will sales go back to “normal,” but rather, how quickly can you modernize so you can embrace the future of sales and come out of COVID ready to take on the new, fast, always-online, customer-centric, content-rich, and technology-enabled world of modern buying and selling.
It has been suggested that buyers no longer value long-term relationships with vendors but in responding to the following question: “Thinking about your current list of suppliers, how important is it to create long-term, symbiotic relationships?” 84% told us that it was Important and, in fact, 52% suggested that it was Very Important.
Another viewpoint making the rounds in recent months is that we are witnessing the death of professional selling as buyers’ preferences for the way they buy change. We asked, “In your personal experience, do you feel that the relevance/importance of sales professionals to your future purchasing requirements will increase, decrease or stay the same?” 46.1% told us that it will Stay the Same, 43% told us it would Increase/Significantly Increase, and only 9.8% said it would Decrease.
Clearly, the buyer/seller relationship is evolving, with the former demonstrating much higher levels of discernment. The results of this survey clearly indicate that what buyer’s want most is for sellers/vendors to understand them.
We believe It is the ability to understand every aspect of the buyer’s business; to communicate in the same language; to work hard to create a long-term commercial partnership, that is truly symbiotic and key to becoming genuine trusted business advisors.
We remain convinced that the bar will continue to be raised as salespeople increase value for their customers, beyond what they can glean from the Internet and social media. Buyers and sellers will leverage the natural synergies that already exist, and jointly seek new ways of being innovative and proactive in creating mutual success.
The Sandler Research Center have now presented the findings from our most recent research, “What Buyers Want and How Buyers Work.” This report not only contains the full set of statistics, but also our observations and key takeaways.
Within the buyer/seller environment, preferences and practices have adapted along with the changes that COVID-19 has brought into our professional lives. Out of necessity, traditional face-to-face interactions have given way to sales and support practices becoming more virtual. This led us to our primary objective: discovering the preferred method of communication between buyers and sellers.
Our survey was divided into three relevant sections:
- Exploration and Awareness
- Interest and Consideration
- Vendor Selection
To offer the best transparency for you to be confident in the relevance of the data being presented, please note that this survey involved:
602 respondents from 43 countries and we are providing you with 19 data points.
Please download your copy HERE