You're making it harder to buy. 3 ways sellers contribute to stalled deals.

30 Apr 24

Having too much information, stakeholders, and product options can grind deals to a halt. Learn how commercial teams can overcome these obstacles in 2024.

Many companies experienced an inconsistent and underwhelming year for business in 2023—and with promising forecasts for demand in 2024, many executive teams are eager to take their companies back on the path to rapid growth. However, the flat to declining commercial productivity among many sales teams today still poses an obstacle to that goal.

This time though, many CEOs are certain that the main factors dampening their commercial productivity are not internals ones (e.g. product offerings or seller skills), but external ones (buyer factors)—and about 44 percent of CEOs that we surveyed this year believe this.

With many companies out there having to constantly change their priorities, organizational structures, and internal policies to keep up with economic disruption and instability in the past three years, it’s no wonder that commercial teams have experienced a lot of friction in the buying process. Just when buyers think they’ve matched their company’s needs to a supplier’s offerings and reached a consensus, changes reset their progress and force them to start over. In this article, we’ll refer to this as ‘reset buying’.

For commercial teams to keep up with the new reality that is reset buying, it is necessary to evolve and adapt commercial strategies to ensure that deals can continue to make progress even as conditions change.

Factors that make resetting even more difficult

The B2B buying process is already complex, but there are three key factors on the seller’s side that make it especially difficult when the buying process resets: an overwhelming volume of information, too many poorly coordinated stakeholders involved, and too many product options to choose from. Here are some key findings from our B2B buyer research:

1. Too much information available

  • 78 percent of buyers said that there is so much information available—and though it’s supposed to help them in making a decision, they end up just tuning it all out and trusting their gut.

2. Too many stakeholders involved

  • 74 percent of buyers said that internal coordination and stakeholder management was one of the most frustrating parts of the buying journey, which has gradually become a bigger problem over time as buying decision teams have grown in numbers.
  • 70 percent of buyers said that they talked to an overwhelming number of supplier representatives, yet were not sure what they all did.
  • 92 percent of buyers said that they felt like they needed to repeat themselves every time they spoke with a different supplier representative, indicating that the overall customer experience is slowly getting worse.

3. Too many product options

  • 74 percent of buyers said that the large number of products, options, and pricing options available made it more difficult to know what they should buy.

With the insights gathered from our research on B2B buyers today, it is clear that buyers have long dealt with overwhelming information and difficult consensus dynamics. Ideally, it was up to commercial teams to know how to guide buyers to focus on the most important information and work with advocates to reach a consensus among the buying team.

However, this approach no longer works when commercial teams find themselves also caught in a loop of helping buyers to re-learn information and decide again when conditions change on the buyer’s end, leading to longer deal cycles if they manage to close the deal.

To overcome this challenge, commercial teams need to shift their approach to prioritize helping buyers to make continued progress even with the constantly changing conditions. The key here is not to prevent change, but to preempt change by discussing common change events and likely impact.

It is crucial for commercial teams to work out ways to reduce complexity whenever a reset happens by proposing specific offerings based on their previous conversations with the buyer. It will also be helpful to reduce the number of commercial stakeholders who will continue to engage the buying team after a reset to keep the buyer’s stakeholders focused on arriving at their decision faster.

Learn more insights from our B2B buyer research by reading the full report here: Revive Commercial Productivity by Easing Buying Friction.


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