It’s a whole different frame of mind. Stop selling and make it easier for your customers to buy.

Here are some thoughts about why at least thinking about the whole process as “Relationship Generation” – instead of Demand Generation — will lead to better results.

We all know how much B2B sales and marketing has changed, especially since March 2020. It was hard to participate in the buyer journey even before then, but now, it’s even harder.

In Gartner’s recent Sales Vision 2021 presentation, they reveal that there is  “Limited access to the buyer journey: meeting with a potential supplier is only 17% of the time spent by a buyer.” The other 83% of a buyer’s time is spent on researching independently, or in buyer groups, and on other related activities (according to the 750 B2B buyers Gartner surveyed).

We also learn from Gartner that “Digital learning, verification, and buying is ‘always on’”, especially among Millennials and Gen X buyers.

What this excellent presentation emphasizes is that it is harder than ever for our customer buyers to buy.

It’s not for lack of excellent information. There’s so much excellent information available that this creates uncertainty and slows down the whole buying process.

As sellers and marketers, we must make it easier, and in an aligned way (as always). Gartner calls it building “Customer Decision Confidence”, that is, enabling buyers to buy with confidence. If, as an aligned sales and marketing team, you can achieve that, well, it’s everything.

As Gartner concludes: “Improving the buying experience requires understanding the customer buying journey better than customers themselves.”

We have the tech tools, the platforms, and more to help automate, predict, and scale. But, as always, the platform is not a strategy. Most likely, even your current strategy is no longer the (correct) strategy! Journey maps are challenging to create. Understanding the journey better than customers themselves takes this to a whole other level. But the effort is well worth it.

Which brings us back to relationship generation.

Value for B2B buyers is now defined as making it easier for customers to make decisions by supporting them  — and helping them sort through the most important information —  in order to make the right decision. Which, usually, produces results that lead to growth.

This is delivering value as defined by your customers. And if you do that, your relationship with your customer will not only be enduring, but irreplaceable. That’s a relationship worth generating.

Next week: HOW to Move from Demand Gen to Relationship Gen