Why Enterprise B2B Sales Is Stuck In The 80’s

Most large companies could learn a thing or two from news organizations. Yes, those behemoth media organizations that read tweets on the air (not all news is good news). Why? Because news organizations are able to disseminate information to fragmented audiences in a personalized way almost instantaneously.

As for today’s enterprise B2B companies? They’re stuck in the 80’s.

Many large companies understand that there is value in the explosion of new information being gathered and generated by their marketing, analytics and sales ops teams. The overarching purpose of large investments in big data, BI tools, CRM and marketing automation is to take knowledge about a customer and increase the productivity of the sales and marketing effort in converting and retaining that customer.

But there is one problem with this logic: most companies have customers (aka people) that are engaged by sales reps (aka people). The information being captured isn’t fundamentally changing that interaction, because it’s moving too slowly and doesn’t end up in the hands of the sales rep.

It’s not how much information you have, it’s how quickly and easily that information gets into the hands of the person that owns the customer relationship: the sales rep.

Sales interactions, by and large, don’t vary dramatically from thirty years ago. Sales reps, especially outside sales reps, spend time meeting in person and showing their “pet” version of the sales presentation. They might have pulled materials together from last quarter that they like, modified some metrics slightly and pulled a few case studies that they like to talk about.

If senior leadership saw how little of the most current information they use, how outdated the slides, how off-brand the message and how stale the data is, they wouldn’t be pleased.

News organizations, on the other hand, have mastered the art of disseminating information to their consumers rapidly. They distribute it via multiple distribution channels and have it in front of their consumers within minutes.

But the real question is: why can’t enterprise B2B companies do the same thing? Sales enablement technologies already exist that fix this problem.

And what would be the benefits of getting out of the 80’s? Perhaps having more effective sales reps, who are always on message, on brand, using the right data and making better sales decisions.

IT and marketing have done their part to gather and disseminate data. It’s time for sales teams to turn that into information to win more deals and shorten sales cycles. News organizations shouldn’t be the only ones that are able to rapidly put fresh information in front of their customers.
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