October 18, 2018
Updated: September 30, 2019

Showpad co-founders use exclusive data to show what buyers want

What do buyers really want?

They want content that is valuable and a sales experience that solves their problems.

Creating better buyer experiences was the theme of “the Future of Sales Enablement,” the Wednesday session at Showtime18, Europe’s largest sales enablement conference taking place in Ghent.

Showpad CEO and co-founder Pieterjan Bouten and Showpad CPO and co-founder Louis Jonckheere walked the audience through exclusive findings from Showpad’s latest report, The New B2B Buyer Experience, which shows that paths to purchase are taking longer, becoming more complex, and are creating new challenges for sellers in the competitive marketplace.

Some of the findings were shocking — Over 50 percent of buyers in both Europe and the U.S. say that the sales cycle has increased. “That’s obviously a big challenge for anyone,” Bouten said. One of the reason, of course, is that buyers are taking much longer to research before they even contact a sales rep. For companies that made deals averaging over $100,000 over the past 12 months, the average time spent researching is more than 40 hours.

One of the drivers for the delay is inadequate content. Buyers say the content available to them through sellers is often confusing, lacks proper information, or lacks ROI data.

“They take longer to make decisions, and if they get content, it’s not relevant,” he said.

Sales often lacks enough time for selling, takes too long to onboard reps, and finds it difficult to turn mid-performers into top sellers. Sales also is often burdened with content that is outdated or lacks meaningful insight.

The challenge for both sales reps and marketers is to find content that gives buyers value. Sellers in particular need to transform their role into one that provides solutions. Future leaders are the companies that understand the necessity of empowering reps to engage with the modern buyer who are smarter and more informed. Bouten noted, “it’s a massive challenge, but it’s also a massive opportunity.”

Jonckheere talked about the future of engagement — “Making things simple” through storytelling. Over coming years, 90 percent of jobs will change, moving away from product selling and toward solution selling.

Augmented reality will also play a larger role in selling, likely replacing PowerPoints as the preferred presentational tool. AI will power future homescreens and use analytics to make recommendations which products or services will be perfect fits for which buyers.

“This is future of sales enablement — bringing together all of the data that is important for your business,” he said.

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