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Group Buying Dysfunction in B2B Sales: It’s Still a Problem

Remember when CEB revealed last year that the average buying group size had jumped from 5.4 stakeholders to a staggering 6.8 - with predictions that number would only continue to increase? Some recent trends, including blending sales and marketing efforts and personalization at scale have helped remedy some of the problems arising from group buying dysfunction. But there’s still a lot more to do.

group buying dysfunction chart consensusA Reminder on Group Buying Dysfunction

This graph on the right shows how much purchase likelihood decreases as each stakeholder is added to the buying group. Buyers are adding more diverse roles to their decision-making process to avoid poor purchases and to quickly evaluate the massive amount of different solutions on the market. Now it’s a good thing to do your homework; however, adding more people to make a decision raises conflict and makes it harder to reach agreement. This inability for buyers to reach agreement is what we call group buying dysfunction.

 

What Does That Mean for the Seller?

Group buying dysfunction is frustrating for sellers. It leads to long sales cycles and low close rates. Decision makers stay behind closed doors having internal discussions without you being there to answer rebuttals, answer questions, and help guide them to the solution.

Traditionally, sellers have tried combating group buying dysfunction by finding an internal champion who supports your solution enough to champion it internally on your behalf. They become your eyes, ears, and your navigator inside the account. They help you find the decision makers, what’s important to each of them, gets you in front of them, and reports back to you with feedback.

But two problems arise due to the amount of conflict between the stakeholders involved:

1. Fewer and fewer people are willing to advocate for you. Per the same CEB study, 51% of customers who are willing to buy, are not willing to champion your product to the other decision makers.  

2. Champions are not qualified to represent your solution. It takes vast product knowledge, and months of training before you can trust a rep to carry quota. You cannot bet your quota on a champion armed with an hour demo and a few whitepapers.

 

Using Consensus to Overcome Group Buying Dsyfunction

Champions are great to sell with, and that is the key. To sell WITH your champion, not let them sell for you. Salespeople have a negative connotation in people’s eyes. Nobody wants to be sold to by some random salesperson. This is why we always default to relying on our champion alone to carry the sell. People are much more willing to listen when it comes from a colleague. Again, the problem is your champion does not have the training and product knowledge to represent your solution, and champions know this. CEB’s Challenger Customer says 80% of buyers want more sales support when selling to the other decision makers. Consensus helps both the seller, and the champion gain insights to accelerate the decision-making process by helping discover and engage the buying group.

Video with Consensus Studio – CEB research shows that 59% of executives prefer video over white papers to self-educate, and HubSpot says that 4X as many consumers prefer to watch a video about a product than to read about it in 2017. Video provides easily consumable information that is perfected and cleared by your team to deliver the best presentation every time. Record, edit or upload your own demos from right within the Consensus Studio.

Automated – Buyers don’t like being sold to. The automated demo allows buyers to educate themselves on their own terms, allowing them to hear your messaging without the negative association of having a sales discussion.

Real Time Personalization – The diversity of the roles involved in the purchase decision cause mass conflict in the purchasing process because of the different needs/desire of each stakeholder. The Consensus personalization allows for prospects and decision makers to get the best messaging at best time for the right customer persona.

Demolytics™ (Demo Analytics) – Champions have been necessary to the sales process in helping deliver internal insights. Consensus analytics allows your sales rep to track the customer engagement. It allows you to see who has viewed your demo, what they have seen, what they haven’t, what is important to them from your feature set, and who they shared it with. Your rep now knows who else the champion asked to view your offer, what’s important to each person they shared it with, and where they are each at in the education process.

Instant notifications – As your demo tracks analytics from your customers view, it also delivers your reps instant notifications when a person views, or shares, your demo. Allowing your reps to follow up immediately with key insights to drive the next step in the sell.  

BuyerBoard™ – Consensus gives your champion the ability to pass along your demo giving them an easy way deliver messaging catered to the other decision makers. The BuyerBoard gives your champion the same insights your rep has. They will also receive instant notifications, and deep analytics to help them better sell your product internally.

Consensus enables your champion and the other decision makers to an accelerated decision making process, saving your reps time, shortening sales cycles, and preventing deals from stalling out to increase close rates.

 

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