How to Cope with Misleading Sales Statistics

In a recent article “Battling the 57%: Deconstructing the Buyer-Seller Dance” Donald Daly, CEO of The TAS Group, addresses a potentially misleading statistic about B2B Buyers, which I would like to elaborate on.

This statistic arises out of a study by the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) which found that “buyers have (on average) progressed 57% through their buying process before they engage a salesperson.”

Well-Well Informed Customers Still Require Sales Assistance

This has led many to assume that salespersons have a limited role to play in influencing B2B buyers and that buyers prefer to go through the majority of the buying process without interacting with a salesperson. However, according to Daly, this is not the case.

Daly points out that, while buyers may be well informed, this doesn’t mean that they don’t want the help of a salesperson. The buyer assumes a lot more risk than the seller in B2B transactions, so sellers need to do everything they can to make the buyer feel comfortable throughout the buying process.

The Current State of B2B Buying Is Not Necessarily the Most Efficient

The CEB statistic is also limited in that it merely describes the current state of B2B buying and that certainly doesn’t mean that the way things are running now is the best or most efficient way.

In his publication, Daly moves beyond looking at overall trends, focusing instead on what these statistics mean, how they are impacting your business and what you can to help improve B2B buying.

“The ‘57%’ is an average number and not extremely useful in formulating a sales strategy for any specific situation,” Daly says. In his new publication, Daly explores the finer points of the B2B buying process, identifying key steps in the process and offering guidance on how and where to apply resources for the most effective product marketing.

A Return to Common Sense Thinking and Individual Design in Customer Engagement Plans

 “Battling the 57%” emphasizes the importance of having a plan to engage customers to deliver effective product marketing. The publication represents a much-needed return to common sense thinking and individual design tailored to meet your business’s needs. This kind of ground-up thinking is crucial in developing a successful product marketing strategy. Whatever the industry trends may show, you need to focus on the needs of your business first.

External Factors in B2B Buying are Not Represented in This Statistic  

B2B buying isn’t always as simple as generalized statistics make it appear. Lead response times, time of the week and even time of day can have a sizable impact on B2B Buyer behavior. Research by salesforce found that B2B buyer traffic is the highest on Tuesday while conversion rates peak on Wednesday. The same research found that qualification rates decrease with every second you wait to call after conversion.

There are many different steps involved in B2B buying and a variety of options are available for making the most of each of these steps. As Daly argues, successful product marketing is about focusing on your business’s weaknesses and needs and doing whatever is necessary to help improve the B2B buying process.

A BMA/Forrester survey found that 97% of leaders in B2B marketing said that they are doing new kinds of work and emphasized the need for the development of new skills to keep up with the rapid changes in product marketing.  An individualized approach that gets back to basics is a great way to stay competitive in this rapidly changing field.

For the full report, I recommend reading this press release. It was very useful for product marketers. Check out the full story here.

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James Mello
James is the Lead Author & Editor Product2Market of Blog. James writes for the Product2Market blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Product Marketing.
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