Neha wrote this post for our sister program, the CEB Sales Leadership Council. Some of these insights will resonate with Market Insights groups that support the Sales function, but it’s surprising how many of these “sales challenges” are also daily challenges for those of us working to sell our insights throughout our own organization. If your organization maintains a relationship with CEB Sales you will be able to access their materials using the same username and password that you use to access the CEB Market Insights site.
There has been much disruption in the sales world in recent years. And, as we studied these disruptions and associated challenges, our research has thrown some pretty cool (and scary) statistics that debunk conventional wisdom and will forever change the way sales organizations operate.
Below are five statistics that top my list that every sales executive must know:
- 53% of customer loyalty is driven by a seller’s ability to deliver unique insight: In other words, a company’s brand, products and services, and price are no longer the main drivers that drive customer loyalty. Instead, what customers want today lies within the sales experience itself. And what better way to provide a lasting sales experience than a message that disrupts customer thinking and changes the way they do business, what you all have come to know as Commercial Insight. CEB Market Insights members, learn more about the components of a world-class insight.
- An average B2B purchase is 57% complete by the time a customer engages a single supplier: With more information available to customers earlier in the sale, suppliers are being contacted later in the purchase decision than ever before. What’s more, customers have already defined their needs, researched solutions, settled requirements, and are starting to benchmark price. So, by the time the customer reaches out, the only thing left for the supplier to compete on is price. CEB Sales members, use our Opportunity Qualification Scorecard to target the right opportunities.
- An average of 5.4 customer stakeholders are involved in a typical B2B purchase decision: As deals become increasingly complex, new stakeholders from different parts of the customer organization are weighing in on purchase decisions. These stakeholders bring diverse perspectives and business needs, making it hard for sales to create consensus among customer stakeholder groups. CEB Market Insights members, we too get burned by the increasing number of folks (in our case, business partners) involved in decision making. Check out our work on Operationalizing Political Savvy to understand how consensus decision making should change how you communicate insights, and learn how to proceed with Activating Disruptive Insights.
- The ideal customer advocate/coach exists in less than 1% of individuals: Conventional wisdom teaches reps to find advocates/coaches in the customer organization – that can provide inside information, be highly credible, and support the supplier’s solution, among other criteria. Our analysis found that finding advocates is almost impossible as customer stakeholders with all the desired advocate/coach attributes don’t exist in the real world. That said, since sales requires selling to people, sellers must ultimately make a decision on who to sell to. Again, another topic that hits close to home for Market Insights professionals, who regularly need to navigate around organizational obstacles to get our insights acted upon. CEB Market Insights members, use our Stakeholder Prioritization Tool to triage stakeholders early on and decide where to focus your relationship building efforts.
- Reps forget 70% of the information they are taught in training within a week, and 87% within a month: We have all seen sales training initiatives falling flat and often the reason cited is the training itself. But what our research found is that more often than not it’s not the training but what happens before and after training that is the reason for training to not “stick” and for sellers to not internalize new skills and behaviors. CEB Market Insights members, we too found success in training when you focus on pre- and post-initiatives. See how other departments Pre-Wire Participants to Improve the Value of Upcoming Training and Reinforce Continued Skill Development after Training.