B2B tech customers would rather deal with technical experts than sales staff, according to new Gartner research which advised sales teams to better understand their customers' needs.
The analyst's recent Tech Go-To-Market report – which surveyed 503 organisations in Europe, North America and China – found that 81 per cent of respondents valued interaction with tech staff, while only 38 per cent said they valued dealing with those working in sales.
"Buyers do not value their interactions with salespeople as much as they did in the past," the analyst said. "As a result, sales teams must adjust processes and skills to learn to guide buyers through their purchase cycle.
"The gap between [value placed on tech and sales staff] is substantial. Clearly, customers do not feel that their sales representatives are adding value to their buying process."
Gartner advised sales staff to better engage with buyers and prospective customers via social media as one way of enhancing their value, as well as suggesting that sales teams "guide the customer along their [own] buying journey versus forcing them to follow the internally preferred process".
The analyst also suggested making sales pitches about the customer instead of about their own products as a way of improving their perception among buyers.
Gartner research director Hank Barnes added that the role of the sales team has changed dramatically.
"In the past, sales was dictating the flow of information – cold calling, sending out corporate marketing literature, meeting with prospective customers, conducting sales presentations and arranging high-level executive meetings in more of a push selling model," he said.
"Now customers are deciding when and where the sales engagement will actually begin, as well as how and where that interaction will take place in more of a pull model."
Gartner's survey also showed that the majority of respondents would rather interact face-to-face with a person, regardless of whether they are technical or sales focused. Some 56 per cent of respondents said face-to-face negotiations were of high importance, with 42 per cent and three per cent respectively saying it is of medium and low importance.
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