Traditional go-to-market strategies are no longer working in today’s digital-first world. In this free course from Acceleration Economy Advisory Services, Acceleration Economy practitioner analysts Tony Uphoff and Scott Vaughn discuss ideas on how vendors need to adapt in response to the makeup of today’s executive buying committee and the different factors that influence the members of those committees.
This is the last in a three-part series.
00:25 — The focus in the third part of this course is on how tech vendors should change the way they work with prospects and customers in a digital-first world.
01:44 — Tony gives a quick recap: part one covered how and why the business technology purchase process has changed, and the growing disconnect between buyers and sellers. Part two focused on how businss tech leaders can navigate buying complexity and work with vendors to make smarter decisions.
03:24 — Tony recounts a new acronym Scott shared: FOMU, or Fear of Messing Up. Scott explains it comes from a book about The Jolt Effect, whereby 3 million buyer-seller sales interactions were analyzed; they found 40% to 60% of the time, deals weren’t lost in the way we normally think, but rather they were just stuck. FOMU occurs because there’s so much fear it causes deals to stop.
04:31 — Buying committees are bigger and the market’s moving very fast — just look at AI as an example. Those on the committees think: should I buy now? Should I wait? Do I make the change?
04:57 — That raises the question: what kind of steps can be taken to make the process work better, to be more connected, with more co-creation and better partnerships? Tony calls B2B technology sales “horribly broken.” Over 70% of the process is complete before a buyer engages with a sales rep. Buyers in some cases have more information today about the product, service, or company than sellers do.
06:06 — New buyers are getting involved in the purchase process and most of them are likely unknown to the sellers. Many of them are non-technical and looking for different types of information focused on business benefit. Plus, business technology has evolved from expensive and complex sales IT pros, vs. now where it is a platform for revenue growth sold to broader committees of business and tech leaders.
07:05 — The past model, Scott says, was that a company needed another $20 million in annual recurring revenue and hired 15 new salespeople. But just hiring them doesn’t mean you get that revenue. There would also be pressure on marketing to generate more leads. But those leads turned out to be people who downloaded content or came to the website and weren’t ready to buy.
08:30 — Tony describes the challenge of having to interpret “a very faint signal and know when and how to insert yourself into a sales process that could be beyond 70% complete.” Plus, some buyers are looking for a model that’s closer to self service in terms of information and not the traditional managed sales process.
10:09 — Scott cites the importance of selecting the right go-to-market strategies and sales motions: will they be sales-led? Sales-assisted? Product-led? It’s also important to determine the role marketing will play.
12:23 — Something the best vendors do is guide, with someone at a senior level who can pull resources not just to discount price, but to be able to steer it. You need a product team at the table who can understand and maybe do some co-creation or guiding based of their experience to help solve the customer’s problem.
14:30 — Tony refers to this as an executive sponsor on the vendor side who can communicate with the buyer and perhaps match peer-to-peer at the C-suite level.
17:06 — Tony raises the notion of more buyers as part of the executive buying committee, and asks how vendor sales and marketing teams can understand the various players. Scott says intent data can help in terms of building out context; for example, if the last seven or eight deals included someone in the financial/accouting office, that data would indicate when that person steps in and what questions they’re asking.
19:59 — Tony notes how some vendors are struggling to express their value proposition, in terms of being a platform for revenue growth, when they are accustomed to discussing bits and bytes. The first step is to make sure the sellers know who they’re talking to and have the right people at the table for a business value conversation.