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Three Forces Revolutionizing Sales Content Tools

Dan sells enterprise financial services.
Dan, who is a top seller, is finding it harder and harder to make his quarterly quota.

Sue manages content for Dan’s pitches.
Sue is finding it harder and harder to get access to key stakeholders to push new information. It’s like a black hole – content goes in, but nothing comes out.

High-quality sales of complex business solutions are undergoing significant evolution and we need to talk about getting things back on track.

The New Age of the Connected Customer is here and the customer now calls the shots. And as business product designers, we are seeing better traction with making business tools more consumer-oriented and aligned with the way the user likes and expects.

The first generation concerned content – it’s availability, its strategy and its alignment with cross organizations. In the new generation, we not only design for content itself, but for how the content is consumed, shared and collaborated from the buyer perspective.

Check out these 3 powerful forces, and their eye-popping data, that is influencing the product design of new enterprise sales automation tools.

1. The Death of the Funnel

Customers move across and up-and-down channels in a “Connected Journey” more easily now -- not linearly down a funnel. They are preferring to do their own information gathering, owing to the accessibility of knowledge online.

  • 63% of people requesting information on your company today will not purchase for at least three months – and 20% will take more than 12 months to buy. [Source: Marketing Donut]
  • 95% of buyers chose a solution provider that “Provided them with ample content to help navigate through each stage of the buying process” [Source: DemandGen Report]
  • By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their interaction with the enterprise without interacting with a human. [Source: Gartner]

2. Let’s Take a Selfie of This Deal!

Today’s customers are highly empowered, always addressable and incredibly distracted by all of the options available allowing them to connect with what matters to them most. These new, younger buyers are likely going to be key stakeholders for your sales teams.

  • They typically own at least 3 connected devices. 86% of B2B buyers access business-related content on mobile devices. [Source: Genwi]
  • 33% access Internet from multiple physical locations multiple times a day. [Source: Forrester]
  • Over 50% of Gen X (36-50 years old) is already in this hyper-connected category. [Source: Forrester]
  • Millennials value recommendations from family or friends more than any other generation. [Source: Nielson]

3. Consensus Happy Buyers

B2B deals are decided in teams now where they communicate digitally around content online.

  • The average deal has over 8 decision makers, a 43% increase from 3 years ago. [Source: IDC]
  • B2B salespeople feel the need to reach a consensus before finalizing a transaction. [Source: The Horton Group]

Why These Trends Are Important

By ignoring these new behaviors, you are taking a risk at losing your market share, potentially becoming irrelevant and/or receiving a one-way ticket to commoditization station. The good news is, by aligning your sales process with the way your buyers are expecting and wanting, you get on track for this significant shift in the market.

Look for the new generation of tools that are specifically designed for these key dynamics in the market. This way, you can remove the unnecessary barriers in the way of your sales opportunities and impress your buyers with a unified sales experience they like.

Jeff Williams is UX Design Lead at Xinnovation.