The way that buyers buy has changed - this has been said very frequently lately.
But in the B2B world, this shift had been slower than in the B2C world, at least until Covid came.
The pandemic brought two years' worth of digital transformation in two months.
In our recent PreSales Leadership Collective Symposium, we had Manny Medina, CEO at Outreach, and Sean Whiteley, Founder at Qualified.com join us to talk about why the evolution of customer behaviors matters.
Digital First Thinking
With the rise of new generations of digital natives - millennials and Gen Z - if you’re not getting on board with the new way of buying you’re getting left behind. They’re used to seamless and enjoyable transactions online, whether in B2C or B2B purchases - after all, every B2B buyer is a consumer as well. You need to meet consumers where they are to win.
What Buyers Want
B2B buying is no longer about the sales process - it’s a buyer process these days. Don’t force buyers through a rigid and complex sales motion and cause friction, because they’ll head right to a competitor if one exists. That’s not to say selling isn’t complicated these days. Your prospects could know everything about your product and just want to purchase, or they could be totally new to your space and what you offer. Sometimes that even happens on the same call, and reps need to be prepared for it all. (This makes the job fun but also challenging!)
The Rise of Product-Led Growth
PLG is not a trend, and neither Manny nor Sean saw any chance of going back to the old way of selling. And that means PreSales needs to adapt. That’s because building a product just for your buyer doesn’t work anymore - the end user is vital. When your company goes public, the second question investors will ask is about your retention rate, and if it’s dismal, that indicates a serious product problem.
Becoming product-led looks different for every company, but one thing you need to do is build the whole process and product with PLG in mind from the beginning. That why’s most companies aren’t really all the way there yet, though they’re trying. And you also need a feedback loop to make your product better - PreSales plays an important role there as well.
The Role of PreSales
PreSales has gone from being a primarily technical role to a strategic one as well. You need to be able to speak about the value of your product, not just the features, with both customers and CFOs now. And that means working from an outcome mindset - technical offerings aren’t enough, you’re now selling a full solution.
PreSales also now plays a key role in creating champions during the buying process. Buying committees are big and getting bigger, and you need to be able to educate the person in front of you so they can advocate for you to their boss as well. This is one of the ways PreSales has become a copilot in the sales process now, not just a sales support function.
Sales as a Team Sport
In this new buyer-centric world, sales and PreSales will need to be tightly integrated. Both are vital, and they need to play together as equals. PreSales is no longer just a technical role in this new world. You need to have the technical skills to get in the door but in order to win, you need to align yourself with business outcomes and strategic thinking as well. The best PreSales pros can talk about technology without sounding technical and that makes them indispensable to their organizations.