Reacting and responding to “shoppers” has you falling for the world’s worst head fake. Your sellers are telling you they’re “slammed” and that they’ve “never been busier”, but the truth is they are serving shoppers. And the irony is that is where your value is destroyed. In fact, there is so little value for shopping that artificial intelligence (AI) will take over the procurement phase completely in 2-3 years.
Ask yourself, are you busy, or busy destroying your company’s value?
Staying with the weather vane, you’ve heard the phrase “the calm before the storm”… where things might seem peaceful yet there is that eerie feeling that something might soon happen to disrupt the harmony.
Today things are a bit different. It’s more like the chaos before the even bigger storm. All sales teams and sellers are really busy, some say “never busier”. So it’s easy for our primitive brains to misread the situation. But if we step back and take a look at a couple of the accelerating trends we’ll see there are obstructions lurking just beneath the surface.
Could you be quickly busying yourself to irrelevancy?
Where you enter the sale has never mattered more than it does today. We talk about the 3 Deadly C’s (Commoditization, Compressed Selling Time, Consensus Decision Making) and how the prospects playbook forces your seller to enter in the Procurement Phase – where the prospect’s are shopping. What do we mean? By the time you get to the procurement, your prospects are shopping you against your competitors and looking for the lowest price. This is why playing the prospect’s playbook is accelerating the race to the bottom.
Not only will stronger prospect playbooks continue to pin your sellers back, 2022 will be the year your B2B sellers see a whole new competitor. A competitor who will move faster, be more thorough, and have the ultimate maneuverability making it almost impossible to complete. You need to prepare your sellers to compete against artificial intelligence.
Enter the Bots
“The future of procurement is here. At the current rate of adoption, sixty to seventy percent of existing processes at leading procurement organizations could be automated within three years.”
As AI accelerates in speed and capability, we will see it taking over the procurement, or shopping, phase. Those selling teams who for years, and even to this day, wait for leads where the prospect has finally reached out will find themselves in a race where they can no longer compete. When prospects are shopping they want fast information, quick differentiation and instant answers. AI can outperform humans by an order of magnitude and for a fraction of the cost.
Don’t be deceived…
All the “busyness” you’re seeing is nothing more than the chaos before the storm. The majority of the work your sellers are doing right now is fulfilling shopping requests. Prospects know what they want and are out shopping for a solution. Your sellers are providing information, are quick to answer questions, and are trying to differentiate when they’ve already become commoditized.
The only value your sellers bring are speed and cost.
But it’s a trap! Not intentionally set by prospects, but once they discover AI can eliminate the pain of the shopping phase, there’s no way your sellers can compete on speed or the lower cost.
How do you win?
All is not lost, but only if you start preparing. Now.
The only way to stay relevant and vital — and actually create better margins at the same time –is to get into your prospects sales process earlier and at higher levels. Rather than entering at the Procurement Phase where prospects are shopping, you must have a team of sellers who can connect your real impact to high level priorities within the prospect organization. There are very specific sales skills, mental preparedness, and drive necessary to become the type of consultative seller who can pull this off. You just need to ensure your entire team gets there starting now.
For some time we’ve been challenging organizations that they’re sellers and marketers are unprepared and ill equipped to compete against stronger and stronger prospect playbooks. Those who’ve heeded the warning and began preparing and equipping their teams are getting greater access at higher levels. Now with AI breathing down your sellers’ necks, 2022 must be the year that you step into the future.
2022 is going to be the most obstructive B2B selling year ever. Join us for a webinar on December 17th, 2021 to explore the obstructions that could derail your sales efforts and what you can do about them right now.