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Digitisation drives B2B sales organisations to rethink go-to-market strategies

By Catherine Knowles, Tue 28 Dec 2021

By 2026, B2B sales organisations that unify commercial strategies and leverage multithreaded commercial strategies will realise revenue growth that outperforms the competition by 50%, according to analyst firm Gartner.

This means sales leaders must rethink their go-to-market strategies with what Gartner calls ‘orchestrated customer engagement’ to better align to today’s buying behaviours.

According to the analysts, orchestrated customer engagement helps commercial leaders transition to strategies that are more adaptable to fast-evolving buyer dynamics, ensuring the entire commercial organisation - sales, marketing and customer service - can meet customers where, when and how they want to be met.

Gartner Sales practice vice president analyst Dave Egloff says, “Many sales and commercial leaders believe meeting face-to-face with customers is the panacea to bolstering commercial performance, especially as they navigate through the pandemic recovery.

"The harsh reality is that yesterday’s strategy is less effective today and not what the best organisations are doing for tomorrow’s success.

"But there is still hope - transformative digital investments and technology give commercial leaders more capabilities than ever before to decisively adapt to today’s ever-evolving buying team dynamics and preferences.”

Gartner finds that B2B buyers today spend only 24% of their buying time meeting with potential suppliers.

This is being driven by a number of factors: the increasing amount of credible but conflicting information they find online, the growing number of internal stakeholders on the buying team (now ranging anywhere from 11 to 20 individuals) and the fact that 54% of millennial customers prefer a rep-free buying experience.

Egloff says, “Commercial leaders must focus on making sellers more effective in execution and buyers more confident in their purchasing decisions.

"This starts when customers’ needs come first. Better purchasing decisions occur when coordinated touchpoints unify buying teams.

"It thrives when marketing, sales and service organise around a common understanding of customers’ situations and buying team engagement.”

According to Gartner, orchestrated customer engagement consists of three fundamental strategies:

Situational awareness: Most sales organisations treat customers largely the same by applying a standardised engagement process that discounts each customer’s unique situation.

However, these traditional approaches are less effective because customer situations are increasingly different, Gartner states. The divergences between situation and generalised approaches trigger disconnects between what the playbook suggests and what the buying team actually needs.

Situational awareness is built upon the premise that every buying situation is unique, but with patterns that repeat across organisations. Commercial teams that work to understand the customer’s perspective will outperform competitors.

Multithreaded engagement: Unlike traditional opportunity management approaches, multithreaded engagement acknowledges that customers have more options, more internal stakeholders and an unpredictable purchase journey.

This strategy can help to orchestrate the timing, delivery and messaging - integrating seller and digital experiences - across all stakeholders within a buying team. This ultimately helps to expedite consensus on a commercial decision, according to Gartner.

Commercial convergence: Most commercial teams still formulate strategies and execute plans based on functional silos, leading to operational inefficiencies, misaligned priorities and generic messaging.

Organisations can overcome these challenges by pursuing a strategy of commercial convergence, which requires strategic and tactical alignment between marketing, sales and service to create a mindset of value and cooperation across the enterprise silos, the analysts state.

According to Gartner, this practice aligns the strategies, functions and KPIs of commercial stakeholders to enable situational awareness and multithreaded engagement while accelerating revenue generation and reducing cost and complexity.

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