The B2B Sales Prospecting Epidemic: The Underlying Cause

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Garin Hess

How do you handle the reality that 90% of buyers in your market aren’t looking to buy? Or even more, aren’t aware they have the exact problem that your solution could fix? Jim Burns of Avitage recently wrote an article covering the B2B sales prospecting epidemic, that discusses this exact issue. Let’s review and summarize.

Most companies are stuck in the mindset of “product selling”; show prospects your great product, highlight the benefits, make a sale. But as Jim points out, “The problem is, there aren’t enough active buyers to meet quota and tougher revenue growth goals.” So how do you create an environment for inactive buyers to become active, or at least aware of the problems they’re facing and how your solution fixes them? You might say, “that’s why content marketing was created!” Which is true; to put content out there that drives awareness and educates prospects on their problems, and your solution. But again, Jim points out, “Too much marketing content is still oriented to promoting products, or at least a particular solution approach. It doesn’t adequately help people work through the risk and cost assessment of their status quo.” With most sales reps dealing with complex buying groups, as opposed to single decision makers these days, creating unique content that resonates with everyone is very difficult. 

Many Sales People Don’t Know to How to Do B2B Sales Prospecting

Lots of sales reps count on marketing to deliver their leads. Some might take a stab at Account Based Sales (blended with Account Based Marketing). But Jim argues that most ABS and ABM strategies are still heavily reliant on email, and “email today is an information transfer vehicle. It is not a persuasive communication method.” Even a “Business Development Rep” role is designed to really just keep your solution at top of mind for prospects, until they decide to implement a buying process. It’s not a catalyst, moving the process forward; it’s a waiting tactic. 

The Solution Lies Within Business and Sales Leadership

B2B sellers must create value for customers through the way you sell. This starts with the way you create opportunities with prospective buyers who aren’t actively looking to buy what you are selling.” Doing so is an incredible challenge. But a necessary one to face head-on. Otherwise, you run the risk of becoming white noise amongst the rest of the competition. Buyers are doing more of their research on their own, relying less on sales reps and account executives. Buyers come in groups now, and each one has different priorities and needs that your solution should articulate its value to in a unique way. So what’s your next move?