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Three ways to ensure your business remains competitive in the B2B space

|Apr 10|magazine11 min read

Technology has accelerated access to information, communication and transparency, making consumers more educated and informed than ever before. Buyers are starting the sales process without any help from sales professionals at all; research shows that the average buyer has completed between 60 and 90 percent of their decision-making process before ever engaging a sales professional. 

This doesn’t just relate to consumers. According to RSM Bird Cameron, this shift in sales will affect every organisation that sells in a B2B space to a large degree. 

To ensure organisations are sustainable and successful in the future, companies need to start preparing for a completely different business landscape now. Andrew Graham, direct and National Head of Business Solutions at RSM Bird Cameron recommends doing these three things to remain competitive: 

1. Know your customer 
Engaging in today’s social business world starts with recognising changes in buyer communication patterns, product knowledge and online behaviour. The buyer’s journey has become more complex, which makes customer advocacy more critical than ever. Businesses must first understand why and how to engage with the educated consumer to be able to adapt and meet their needs. 

Evolving consumer behaviours are changing the face of the traditional business model. Gone are the days of business owners taking orders from customers. Successful businesses will be those that address the rapidly-changing sales environment head-on. 

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Organisations that have a solid understanding of their customers and can answer fundamental questions such as where they go to find information, and how they want to be engaged, will have a competitive edge. Those that continue to play by their own rules and not the rules of the customer will be left behind.

2. Move out of your comfort zone 
A constant challenge for organisations is to anticipate and interpret how globalisation is changing, while understanding the opportunities and risks it creates. Although there may be little they can do to prevent change, organisations can efficiently react, or better yet, use the forces of globalisation to their advantage. 
  
It is time for organisations to move outside of their comfort zone and respond with the agile and progressive thinking necessary to succeed in our increasingly connected world. 

Businesses have difficulty sustaining profitability in the long term because of their short-term focus on profit and loss. Many businesses don’t feel compelled to innovate and invest so instead they cut costs, but those who don’t invest in growth limit their prosperity by not focusing on their capacity and capabilities. 

Australia is actually a safe place to innovate. It has more natural resources than the rest of the world, a stable government and generally-favourable tax conditions. Productivity is a key area for improvement and most businesses need to look carefully at how they can innovate to increase efficiency and improve their competitiveness. Innovation, research and development is where Australian companies can take the upper-hand. 

3. Empower your sales team 
In the last few decades, sales professionals have become skilled at discovering customers’ needs and selling them “solutions.” But now, companies can readily define solutions for themselves. Although traditional sales teams are at a distinct disadvantage in this environment, organisations who approach sales scientifically will reign supreme. 

Successful sales professionals: 

  • provide insight to customers as the basis of the commercial conversation, teaching them something new and valuable about how to compete in their market 
  • target agile organisations in a state of flux rather than those with a clear understanding of their needs 
  • seek out a variety of stakeholders, preferring sceptical change agents over friendly informants, and coach those agents on how to buy rather than asking questions about their buying process.