Top Four Takeaways from 2016 B2B Sales Insights Report

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What’s working and what’s not working in B2B sales? Leopard set out to find out in our first B2B Sales Insights Report.

Title page of 2016 B2B Sales Insights Report

Click here for full report

Clearly, existing research shows that the world of sales is in flux. Depending on the purchase, B2B buyers don’t deal with a salesperson until they are 57% to 70% through their buying cycle. Forrester has also reported that one million salespeople will lose their jobs by 2020. The sales landscape is clearly changing, and we wanted to find out how B2B customers feel about the salespeople they work with. Are they as disposable as the research shows? Or are they still a necessary part of the buying cycle?

We surveyed representatives from a range of industries, including software, hardware, healthcare, and financial services. Our respondents are B2B buyers who interact with salespeople regularly and are responsible for making major technology purchases within their company.

Turns out, these B2B buyers have a more nuanced relationship with sales than we suspected. For all of buyers’ frustrations, they still need salespeople’s support.

Here are the top 4 takeaways from the 2016 B2B Insights Report:

  1. 50% of respondents state that sales people are essential to them.

    When sales takes the time to listen, understand their customers and foster deep and meaningful relationships, sales is crucial.

  2. B2B salespeople talk past their customers.

    Our research found that sales is spending most of their time talking about their company and services. But customers want sales to prove that they understand THEIR business. Making the conversation about the customer is integral to creating a lasting and productive relationship.

  3. Salespeople are reported to often be pushy and rude.

    OK, so some stereotypes of the pushy salesman-type still exist. The good news is that it’s not that hard to engage with customers. Salespeople are considered an asset, as long as they use buyers’ time efficiently and respectfully.

  4. 68% of respondents said that listening and understanding their business are VERY important when deciding to work with a salesperson.

    So take note, sales. Your customers have weighed in and they want the conversation to be about THEM, not YOU.

Inevitably, the landscape of B2B selling will continue to change, but the bottom line is that salespeople are not as dreaded as we feared. There is no substitute for personal human connections. B2B customers are human too, and as long as sellers are relating to them on a human level, sales will be here for a long, long time.