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B2B Sales and Marketing Lack Tools for Effective Selling Conversations

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B2B salespeople spend roughly two-thirds of their time selling in virtual environments—via the Web and telephone—yet most companies haven't adapted their sales skills or content marketing tools to deal with this new reality, according to a new report by Corporate Visions.

Sales and marketing teams are not prepared to sell in virtual environments: 58% of surveyed B2B sales and marketing professionals say they have insufficient (27%), little (10%), or no training (21%) in how to deliver compelling messages in virtual environments.

Only 9% of B2B sales and marketing professionals say they have extensive, relevant training in how to communicate in virtual selling environments.

Below, additional findings from the Corporate Visions Q1 2012 Sales and Marketing Messaging Report, based on a poll of 600 B2B sales and marketing professionals.


Tools, messages are lacking

More than one-half (53%) of sales and marketing professionals lack the necessary tools (e.g., content) for communicating effectively in virtual environments, citing no tools (10%), few tools (11%), or insufficient tools (32%).

Only 13% of B2B sales and marketing professionals say they have readily available, useful tools for communicating in virtual selling environments.

Group audiences prevail in B2B selling

Central to the B2B sales process is communicating with a wide variety of audiences: 64% of B2B sales calls involve more than more than one person, while 42% of calls have high-level executives in attendance and 37% have product experts or engineers in attendance.

Sales environments are often not conducive to to effective selling: 27% of sales calls are hosted in noisy environments.

In addition, virtual selling environments can be more stressful than face-to-face ones, the study notes. Because so much of human communication is conveyed via non-verbal cues, virtual conversations are not natural, exacerbating stress levels.

"The results of this quarter's survey reveal the critical need to provide better content and capabilities for communicating in virtual environments, especially over the Web," said Tim Riesterer, chief strategy and marketing officer of Corporate Visions.

"By arming these teams with the right combination of messages, tools and skills, marketers and salespeople will be able to effectively deliver relevant and differentiated conversations that overcome the challenges of virtual meetings and meet the aggressive growth objectives set by most companies."

About the data: Findings are based on a survey of 600 marketing and sales professionals in B2B businesses, conducted by Corporate Visions in the first quarter of 2012.


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  • by Adele Revella Wed Mar 28, 2012 via web

    These results don't surprise me at all. What's unsaid in this study is that B2B sales and marketing people just don't know their buyers well enough to develop these tools. A company might look at this report and decide to spend more time on training and tools for the virtual environment, but they would achieve nothing by recycling the same old content in a new format.

    Marketers need to develop audience-specific messaging and content, which can only be created on a foundation of insights into the buyer's questions and expectations for solving that particular problem. This is the purpose of buyer personas, but these can't be generic buyer personas. To solve this problem, buyer personas need to be built from interviews with real buyers who have engaged in a decision to buy this kind of solution.

    I did a MProfs seminar on this topic at http://www.marketingprofs.com/marketing/online-seminars/474 or you can find my free ebook on this topic at www.buyerpersona.com

  • by Caitlin Roberson Sun Apr 1, 2012 via web

    What an awesome survey from Corporate Visions. It really shows how much companies need to provide better content and capabilities for communicating in virtual environments, especially over the web. This kind of change needs to start at the top—executive buy-in trickles down into sales and marketing teams, especially when companies have organization-wide alignment between departments and commonly agreed-upon definitions of what makes a lead, etc.

    Up to 93% of communication is non-verbal—so it's important that virtual selling tools offer the capability for people to get face-to-face online. When your reps can see their prospects and customers, they'll have access to much richer information about that person's work environment, true reactions and needs—which will help your sales team create more customized solutions that deliver much more value where buyers really need it.

    I meet with my virtual team of sales reps every day in our iMeet rooms. We share presentations, training techniques and videos during our virtual meetings and bond more as a team during these meetings because we can see each other's facial expressions and reactions, something that isn't possible during a phone conversation or over email. It's also helped a lot with effective hiring, onboarding, and sales coaching. For those who are interested, I'm participating in a webinar on April 10 with inside sales expert Josiane Feigon. It's called #Vote4Video: The Sales Tool You Can't Live Without. Link here: http://pages.pgi-email.com/pgi_sales_webinar_041012/

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