In the old days, business-to-business selling was simpler, if not easier: Customers had limited ability to access product information without somehow communicating with a sales rep. The reps brought their brochures and binders to three-martini lunches and touted their product features and benefits while cajoling the customer to hand over a purchase order.
Not anymore. Business-to-business selling has evolved - sales reps are longer conveyers of information. They are now solutions consultants. In today's world, salespeople can no longer restrict or control information. Prospects go online to research product solutions before any kind of communication with a salesperson. Company and vendor independent web sites provide countless tools such as videos, podcasts, free demos, and recorded webinars that provide information on demand 24 hours a day.
Prospects are far more sophisticated and know much more about the companies and people they buy from. They tap into personal connections through social networks and community sites for references and product reviews. This changes the entire nature of business-to-business selling.
Fortunately, buyers and sellers have similar goals in the business-to-business selling game: Prospects want easy and expedient access to product and company information, and sales teams seek details about prospect objectives. Prospects want vendors who can solve their problems quickly. Sales reps want to find prospects who are most likely to buy.
If companies on both sides don't understand the paradigm shift in business-to-business selling, now is the time to learn.