Think you know your buyer?

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Today’s consumer is increasingly accustomed to a digital world that offers intuitive interfaces, around-the-clock availability, real-time fulfillment, personalized treatment and zero errors. They are more connected, distracted, short on time and accustomed to instant answers — but let’s not look at this as characteristics of an age group, but rather the direction in which today’s modern customers are evolving.

Known as the “Generational Customer” they are not defined necessarily by age but by their changing expectations.

This evolutionary shift in buying behavior is also transforming how today’s enterprise must align its’ processes to engage with the expectations of these individuals. These are aggressively becoming the traits in the modern buyer. Exposed to the relatively simple purchasing processes in the B2C (Business to Consumer) world, they are now expecting the same sort of experience with B2B (Business to Business) suppliers.

And enterprises are failing to recognize this shift.

Buyers are increasingly more tech savvy and comfortable engaging with sellers via multiple channels such as phone calls, email, text and social media. They demand that businesses know about them from their very first interaction and want the people they buy from to be as available to them as other people they know.

They are informed and content-driven, demanding more self-service capabilities for product research, trial, and purchase. Buyers are demanding to get information in any way they want, and they want it fast. Enterprise businesses may assume that their buyers don’t want or need to engage with them as often during the buying process, however this notion is not correct.

An overwhelming majority of buyers want to hear from and meet with sellers and they want to hear from them early in the buying process. (RAIN Group)

Companies today must transform digitally as they have to compete in a world in which both end consumers and business customers expect products and services to meet their needs, on demand, across channels — and they want engagement with sellers exactly when they’re ready for it.

All of these trends are leading to more complex sales activities that require a new breed of sales professional armed with the right skills, processes and tools to maximize their sales outcomes.

There has been a significant shift toward subscription-based business models that are redefining how sellers add value and manage customer relationships in today’s rapid business environments.

However, investing in the right skills through strategies such as better hiring decisions and staff development will only get sales leaders so far in building the new breed of sales professional required to combat these trends.

Recruitment of this new breed of sales professional is also a challenge that is becoming more acute as they are also this Generational Customer type themselves and will tend to seek and change roles routinely in search of diverse experiences and rewards.

As a result, enterprises will become more and more dependent on developing and applying effective sales processes and tools that mimic the practices of their best performing sales professionals to unlock the potential from their existing sales force.

Think you know your buyer? How businesses adapt in response to this changing landscape may vary but the modern buyer expects these changes, and they expect them now.

Meeting these expectations is critical because the prevalence of these generational customers is only going to become more significant over time.

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