Only PreSales can Deliver the Experience Buyers Need

Perri Bronson

If you’ve worked as part of the B2B revenue apparatus for more than a few years, you’ve probably seen a massive shift in buyer behavior. Deals don’t get done on the golf course anymore. Prospects have been burned before by purchasing solutions that are difficult to implement and don’t solve their problems out of the box. Long-term commitments are hard won through painstaking evaluations. Yet many vendors continue to push relationship sales and inflexible processes, keeping their products at arm’s length. As a result, the buyer experience is broken.

B2B selling has to change.

The experts agree that it’s time to rethink the buyer experience. A recent study found that “the single biggest challenge of selling…is actually our customers’ struggle to buy” (Gartner). This is in no small part due to the distrust that prospects have developed towards salespeople. Undue or not, the reality is that most professionals say they do not trust Sales as a profession (LinkedIn). Given these unsettling findings, it’s not surprising that buyers are spending less and less time with sellers (Gartner). So, what’s the solution? In order to win the buyer’s confidence, modern selling has to come with deep expertise (McKinsey). And this is where PreSales comes in as the trusted advisor.

What is a sales-proof buyer?

The sales-proof buyer keeps their guard up and is repelled by old-school sales tactics like boilerplate scripts, superfluous meetings, and canned product demos that happen too late in the game. This buyer has become the norm, yet B2B selling has not adapted to meet their demands. They need a new experience, one that allows them to follow their own buying processes, get hands-on experience with solutions, and partner with experts who can prove value. 

To win, vendors must deliver a buyer experience built on transparency and trust. Buyers agree to long-term commitments as the result of de-risking their decision. It is essential to ship products that fit buyer needs and allow them to get value quickly, without any surprises along the way. Solution experts must get involved earlier and more often because buyers want their guidance to prove that product fit from the start.

Companies that deliver great buying experiences grow twice as fast as their competition.

Gartner

Change is never easy. PreSales is in the eye of the storm.

Creating a new experience for buyers is easier said than done. This need for change is closely linked to the massive growth we see in the demand for PreSales at B2B companies. With 1.8 million professionals worldwide, PreSales is second only to Sales in terms of customer-facing department size and is growing 44% year over year.

But throwing headcount at the problem is not enough. Solution experts are difficult to source, hire, and ramp. As a result, PreSales teams are stretched thin. They are getting involved in deals earlier, facing bigger demands, and scaling efforts seems impossible. Today, more than half of the sales cycle is spent chasing after the technical win–a critical milestone that falls squarely on solution experts.

Proving product-fit, ease of use, and a seamless path to value are the cornerstones of a successful solution evaluation. The unfortunate reality is that 45% of evaluations are won. While the pressure is on PreSales to improve these win rates, the odds are stacked against them because Sales and R&D teams are misaligned. Products are often hard to start using and frequently don’t meet the buyer’s needs.

Furthermore, buyers and vendors have no place to collaborate on requirements, let alone build trust, confidence, and momentum in deals. There’s no doubt that these are major factors leading to 77% of B2B buyers having a negative experience in their most recent purchases (Gartner).

Powerful PreSales teams are taking ownership of the buyer experience.

As the trusted advisors in deals, PreSales is critical to driving the new buyer experience. This is a huge opportunity to elevate the role, drive growth for your company, and take your seat at the executive table.

Souping up the presales engine can yield a five-point improvement in conversion rates, a 6-13% improvement in revenue, [and] 10-20%…in the speed of the sales process.”

Harvard Business Review

Owning this change must start with enhanced workstream management, analytics, product-field alignment, and collaborative evaluations with buyers. 

Vivun’s Buyer Experience (BX) Platform brings artificial intelligence and automation to scale PreSales impact and redefine the buyer experience with transparency and trust. Our multi-product platform creates a seamles connection between the worlds of CRM–Salesforce, product delivery–Atlassian/GitHub/Microsoft Azure DevOps, and your buyers in the field. 

See how our solutions work today. Watch Hero in action and take a peek at Eval by Vivun®.

Perri Bronson April 19, 2022