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Warm personal relationship in B2B sales still important

Gert-jan de Rooij 17-06-2021

Shaking hands firmly, drinking a cup of coffee together and catching up while really looking each other in the eye. I missed them last year; those physical contact moments with (potential) customers. Yet the shift towards more frequent online contact had already begun, even without Corona. Simply because an increasing part of the buying process takes place online. Sometimes you don't see each other once during the entire buyer journey. Yet I am convinced that the personal relationship will remain as important as ever in B2B sales. Curious how you experience that!

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Driving for hours, having lunch with business relations, catching up on things at a trade fair; it seems like a long time ago. Thanks to far-reaching digitalisation, potential and existing customers are increasingly going to do their own research during the orientation phase. And so the average B2B lead only comes to you when more than 80% of the buyer journey has already ended. Whereas in the past your role as account manager was purely to sell and close deals, nowadays your role is increasingly to help.

The average B2B lead only comes to you when more than 80% of the buyer journey has already ended'.

Personal Relationship in the Top 3 Trends

This helping role is no less fun, it just requires different skills. Because once you talk to your prospect, it's more about the content and you can show that you really know everything about a product or solution. That makes you a lot more relevant to your lead. And whether that conversation is via a video call or face to face over a cup of coffee; it's still personal! Our recent benchmark research Sales of the Futurein which over one hundred B2B companies participated, also shows that the personal relationship remains as important as ever. According to 69% of the participants, the importance of the personal relationship and the growing attention for personalisation in B2B has the most impact on the sales strategy. Followed by the previously mentioned shift of the buying process to online (63%) and the fact that prospects are increasingly well informed through better access to information (50%).

Opportunities of personalisation

What I like about change is that it also offers new opportunities and possibilities. Certainly in the area of personalisation. As a modern sales person, you have to take full advantage of your opportunities in that important orientation phase and therefore be regularly present in the online search. This can be done, for example, by networking on LinkedIn and sharing relevant knowledge there. After all, B2B buyers often check online references, read reviews and are looking for inspiration and valuable information. This is where your transformation from salesperson to trusted expert with a clear vision comes into play. Because as a credible advisor, you ensure trust and loyalty first of all, and subsequently a (repeat) purchase or reference. And whether you do that with a personal e-mail or a targeted chat via LinkedIn; it doesn't matter. As long as you sincerely show that you understand the challenges of your prospect or customer and can help him. In my opinion, a good starting point for a long, warm relationship!

Download our trend report

Wondering how your sales team can prepare for the future and which skills and technologies a modern team needs? Then download our trend report Sales of the Future. You will also learn from a select group of frontrunners, who have already picked up on the trends and developments of modern sales and are reaping the benefits.

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Download the benchmark report 'Sales of the Future

With the national benchmark Sales of the Future we investigated how leading companies can remain successful in the rapidly changing world of B2B sales. What new competencies must the sales team possess? And what approach and tools are needed to optimally support sales?

Main conclusions from the report:

  • Who wants to be ready for the future as a sales organization must invest in content, digital skills and smart tooling.
  • Leaders in modern sales are able to build a warm relationship with prospects in all phases of the buyer journey, including the awareness and orientation phase.