Nowadays, thanks to companies like Carvana and Autotrader, it has become less necessary to interact with an actual salesperson. With the convenience and scalability this technology offers, are we headed for a future in which a 1-1 consumer buying process is almost non-existent?
Challenger recently updated our popular Buyer’s Study from 2020, looking back on the last two years from a sales perspective and how buyer behavior has changed. A key finding: a painstaking customer buying process and a more difficult economic environment lead to gridlock.
Download the complete 2022 Buyer’s Study here.
In the study, Challenger found that up to 38% of customer purchase attempts end in “no decision,” with both parties wasting time and effort for large numbers of people who decide to do nothing. This is not only a waste of time but a waste of resources. What is at the root of no decision?
Our Virtual Reality
Some of this is due to the virtual world we now live in. Simply put, the ability to hop on a video call almost makes it too easy for more than one person to get involved. From a customer buying perspective, this means that they not only have to manage a larger number of people but must also spend time addressing a wealth of differing viewpoints.
The net effect is a shift toward many-to-many sales where the organization must coordinate many internal stakeholders to address the needs of many customers, as evidenced below:
Challenger has found that both buyer behavior and selling methods have changed due to the pandemic. Moreover, virtual sales interactions are now the norm and might continue to be for the foreseeable future.
In this environment, salespeople struggle to sell to larger groups, while virtual interactions have made it more difficult to address the concerns of any blockers who might veto a purchase if their needs are not addressed. It also makes it much more challenging to find the mobilizers.
New sales reps, in particular, often do not realize that they need to make sure specific objections garner a discussion so the group can address the operational concerns around change. To overcome these challenges, sales managers have a significant role to play. They need to utilize their sales experience skills to broker deals that work for everyone involved. As Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson wrote in The Challenger Sale: “In this world of dramatically changing customer buying behavior . . . your sales approach must evolve or you will be left behind.”
To read the complete report, download the 2022 Buyer’s Study here.