Rise of the Sales-Proof Buyer

Aaron Sun Avatar photo

We’ve talked a lot about the rapid growth in PreSales, and even recently released a Benchmark report discussing that growth. We see 6% in growth across the entire profession, with over 120,000 job openings currently posted.

But the question remains – why? Is it because companies are growing, and when they’re growing, they just need more people to do a bunch of demos?

Demos are great, but they don’t drive the strategic growth of an entire profession the way we’re seeing in PreSales. Vivun believes there’s a fundamental shift in how prospects are researching, evaluating, and buying technology, causing massive reverberations in B2B buying. We call it the Rise of the Sales-Proof Buyer.

“People buy from people,” that hoary old axiom goes. But that’s not really true any longer. It may have been true five years ago: prospects used to place their faith in the salesperson, hoping that a great relationship would bring them to their desired outcome. They’d play golf and go to baseball suites and engage in long, chatty phone calls. But the problem is, once the sale was finished, in many cases the solution didn’t perform. It didn’t deliver value.

Buyers have been burned. And they won’t let it happen again.

The new breed of buyer demands a “sure thing.” They want value at every step, total transparency from the vendor, and the ability to run the sales process their way – as opposed to being held at arm’s length from a product and unable to discover if its capabilities meet their requirements.

They’re tired of being held hostage to a MEDDIC stage, and they’re tired of having to wade through three meetings (including the qualifying call by a sales development rep) just to see the product.

The Rise of the Sales-Proof Buyer explains why Gartner’s Future of Sales Research shows that by 2025, 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels – because 33% of buyers desire a seller-free experience. They want to research the product on their own, figure out whether it meets their needs, and then they want to spend as little time with the salesperson as possible in order to complete the transaction.

What does all of this have to do with PreSales?

Think about what the Sales-Proof Buyer really wants: value, transparency, and the ability to know for certain that a particular solution aligns to the right use cases. Salespeople can’t deliver any of this, and at the same time, even the most self-directed Buyer can’t figure all of this out on their own.

Buyers need PreSales – more than ever.

It’s PreSales who knows the solution cold, including use cases by the dozens. Buyers immediately relax when they’re talking to PreSales, as opposed to talking to an Account Exec, because they know they can get their questions answered – by someone who knows the product inside and out, as opposed to someone who is simply trying to close a sale.

Product-Led Growth is no exception; in fact, PLG is driving the twin vectors of the Sales-Proof Buyer and the rapid hiring of PreSales at exactly the same time. PLG is fantastic for the Sales-Proof Buyer because they get to put their hands on the product immediately, experiment with their unique use cases, and see the value without having to talk to a single human being.

But once they’re well inside the buying cycle, they will have questions: what about this feature? And that one? And this particular use case? They need a solution expert in order to help them cross the chasm from product experimentation to closed sale, and PreSales is the only team able to build that bridge.

How important is this?

An argument can be made that the fastest-growing software companies on the planet – organizations such as Snowflake, Zoom, and HashiCorp – are experiencing that growth because they’ve embraced the new way of connecting with buyers. They’ve realized that the go-to-market methods of years ago no longer work against a buyer who has their force fields raised, and who demands instant value.

The companies who have hired and trained the right team of PreSales people are going to reap the benefits: everything from product field alignment (since PreSales are the link between what the buyer wants and what the product team thinks they should build), to solution expertise, to overall trust and transparency.

In short, investing in PreSales is the way companies are going to prevail in the B2B landscape of 2022. The rest? They can record all the sales calls they want and send a tsunami of sequenced emails, but that’s not going to win over the buyer who is 50% down the purchasing path before they even enter into the sales cycle.

The key to winning over the Sales-Proof Buyer and building a true competitive moat is PreSales.

Aaron Sun Avatar photo March 8, 2022