New Research: B2B Sellers Must Uplevel Financial Acumen Fast to Retain Customers and Win Deals

Databook survey finds 91% of B2B sellers are more successful when they can speak to complex business problems, but many lack tools and resources to address financial pain and urgency for buyers

B2B sellers have less time and more pressure than ever to build relationships and close deals. According to a Gartner report, “Relatedly, B2B buyers report spending exceedingly little time with sales reps. Only 17% of the total purchase journey is spent in such interactions. Considering the average deal involves multiple suppliers, any given sales rep has roughly 5% of a customer’s total purchase time”.1 With limited access and plenty of self-service information available to buyers, sellers need to evolve their approach to make the most of the time available.

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Databook, the pioneer and leader in Strategic Relationship Management, today released key findings from an online survey of 800 B2B sellers that reveals that, in the face of B2B sales shifts, sellers are hungry to uplevel conversations to connect the buyer’s financial pain and urgency to the solution they are selling. Sellers overwhelmingly report that they’re more successful when they speak to business dynamics and executive priorities — but many don’t have the resources and tools to do this at scale. Key findings include:

  • Sellers need to be trusted, strategic advisors: 91% of sellers report they’re more successful when they can solve complex business problems for potential buyers.
  • Business acumen is key to reach and align executive buyers: 81% say understanding a company’s financial performance in detail is critical to engaging executives, and 72% of sellers report they are more successful when they use financial data to create sales narratives that speak to executive buyers and their business priorities.
  • Yet very few sellers are actually doing this in practice: Less than 30% have used a 10-K Annual Report or 10-Q Quarterly Report in the last 6 months to create account strategies and plans and craft sales pitches and proposals. Even fewer are using earning call transcripts or financial news.
  • The exception is high performers: 83% of sellers who significantly exceeded quota in the last few quarters cite using financial data in some area of their sales motions.
  • What is stopping more sellers from doing what everyone agrees works so well? The top 3 reasons identified by respondents include: 25% lack the tools to make it easy; 30% say it’s too time consuming; and 31% say it’s not part of their company’s sales motions.
  • The imperative to ‘be strategic’ is reinforced by Databook’s recent survey of 250 B2B buyers that shows 78% agree that it’s critical for salespeople to align their company’s strategic business priorities with their sales narratives. And 80% caution that understanding their company’s financial performance in detail is critical to engaging the company’s executives.
  • To deepen connections, B2B buyers and sellers both agree that sales teams need to move from execution and volume to strategy and meaningful personalization. While 57% of sellers worry that tools to automate sales outreach make messages feel less “human,” the disconnect is even more dire. In fact, 66% of buyers surveyed say that email outreach from B2B sellers feel robotic and impersonal – and 37% strongly agree.

“This study reinforces that B2B sales success depends on speaking to the handful of initiatives that matter most to the C-suite, but this remains difficult to put into practice,” said Anand Shah, CEO of Databook. “We believe sellers shouldn’t need to be Wall Street analysts to use financial data to show how their solutions tie back to corporate strategies and impact careers and MBOs. SRM makes it easy to do the right thing, instantly giving sellers what they need to deepen customer connections and have more meaningful executive conversations at scale.”

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