Selling to Today’s Hyper Connected Customer

Hyper connectivity is transforming the buying experience. Called a mega trend by McKinsey & Company, hyper connectivity is “the increasing digital interconnection between people – and things – anytime and anywhere.” With 50 billion connected devices projected by 2020, this digital interconnectivity has become ubiquitous and is reshaping our world.

Consider B2C. As modern consumers, when we engage with companies selling to us, we have higher expectations. In an “Amazonized” society, we expect them to:

  •      Know who we are
  •      Have information about our interactions
  •      Understand our problem

With unprecedented convenience, on the spot order fulfillment, and highly personalized experiences, today’s online consumers call the shots.

And these experiences are impacting B2B sales. Just like in B2C, B2B buyers have come to expect the best possible experience. More than product or price point, the customer experience has become essential to attracting, selling to, and retaining today’s hyper connected customers.

Here are three of the main requirements to build a winning customer experience for the modern B2B buyer:

#1. Customer service that is hyper personalized

#2. Real-time insight to address customer needs and problems

#3. Continuous customer nurturing

I’ll Have The Usual Please

With hyper connectivity, we expect highly personalized recommendations delivered when we want them based on our particular interests and behaviors. To do this requires deeper insight into customer preferences and interests.

Selling is about serving customers. With more knowledge, businesses can serve customers better by engaging in a way that’s meaningful to them. Ultimately, this also produces more sales.

In B2B sales, your customers don’t want the email equivalent of a form letter – and good salespeople know that. All engagement – whether on the phone or via email – must be personalized according to previous interactions and tailored to that customer’s particular needs.

According to Aberdeen Group, best-in-class sales organizations place priority on personalized content. These companies give sales reps the ability to customize buyer content through sales enablement platforms – and they see higher lead acceptance and conversion rates as a result.

I’ve Been Looking For Something Like This!

Timing is everything when it comes to sales opportunities. If you’re in sales, you already know that up to 50% of sales go to the first responder. But to be that first responder in a hyper connected world requires a digital approach – or blind cold calling luck – and everyone knows how well that goes.

Companies all over are trying to figure out how to take advantage of digital to optimize their sales operations. According to Accenture partner Yusuf Tayob speaking at Dreamforce, sales operations need to think about data in three ways:

1)   internally available information

2)   publicly available information

3)   inferred data

Things start to get interesting when you realize how much inferred data can be captured through digital insights combined with internally and publicly available information. For example, using an intelligent sales tracking tool, you might see that an existing customer has opened, downloaded, and shared your existing contract.  In your CRM, you see that your contract will expire in just two months. With the combination of these two data points, you can infer they’re already starting the evaluation process and reach out at the moment of interest.

I Can Take My Business Elsewhere

In our always-connected society, when you wake up and can’t get access to your Internet, it’s an issue.

Imagine if you couldn’t immediately connect with your provider about the situation. Imagine if your provider didn’t know the history of your account – or that this problem had occurred just the day before. Imagine if your provider didn’t make resolving the problem a top priority – or was unable to resolve it in a timely way.

With multiple Internet service providers continuously reaching out to us, most of us would probably jump overboard.

Today’s sales reps must continuously be tending to customers, making sure their needs are being met. In a hyper connected world where everything is digital, it’s easy for customers to switch, and they have lots of choices.

Hyper connected customers have embraced a digitally optimized buying experience. They hop in at different stages of the buying process, and when they want to talk with sales, their expectations are higher.

To meet these higher expectations and gain competitive advantage, today’s sales people need to become digital “fishermen” rather than “hunters” or “farmers.”  By hearing what customers tell them through behavioral analytics, inferred data, and self-disclosed data on LinkedIn and Twitter, a digital fisherman can respond at just the right moment – with the right bait – to hook prospects and reel in the sale.

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Suresh Balasubramanian is CEO for LiveHive, Inc., Suresh Balasubramanian is CEO for LiveHive, Inc., whose sales acceleration platform powers sales organizations to build a repeatable sales process through advanced automation and deep engagement analytics. Suresh is a seasoned software industry executive with more than 20 years of operations and senior management experience. Before LiveHive, Suresh served as CEO for Armor5, and GM worldwide at Adobe Software.

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