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Less sales people more info – B2B buyers have spoken

The featured image in this post is based on an ironic state of affairs. Salesforce, arguably the best known CRM platform on the market, first started out life positioning itself as the “no software” company (if you’re in the SaaS business you’ll know what it means). The irony is that a recent piece of Gartner research is now indicating sellers are no longer required, the very people Salesforce’s platform is used to support.

Well not so much that sellers are not required but that buyers are relying on them less and less. Also marketing’s traditional role in building pipeline to tee up sellers for direct engagement in a “serial” or linear manner is being disrupted.

This came to me yesterday via an article published in the Harvard Business Review: Traditional B2B Sales and Marketing Are Becoming Obsolete. That article is based on original Gartner research.

The article was heavy on statistics but not visually so. I decided to pull some out and focus on the things I found interesting.

One of the mind boggling statistics which is actually a status of pre pandemic views is encircled. You can imagine that now, post pandemic, it is even lower as personal interactions comes under pressure and more activities are conducted online.

The other mind boggling stat is the one at the bottom and how that is even higher for younger buyers who are going to increasingly bring this view to the fore.

All this points to sellers having an increasingly hard time getting in front of buyers and companies having to focus on amplifying the ways buyers now increasingly inform their decisions as the article points out.

Something else to focus on – customer success

In place of the question mark in the featured image and in addition to the excellent recommendations in the HBR article focused on getting buyers the right info, this is what I suggest B2B vendors also focus on:

  1. Customer Successes that can be captured and shared with other prospective customers. So in other words, customer advocacy. Whatever form that takes (online stories, case studies or webinars with customers) it needs to be super authentic and succinct. Having the mechanism behind this requires a customer success and marketing operation driving these things – something similar to what I describe in this trend I am watching: Customer Success Marketing and Scale.
  2. Customer Success itself as an organisation, profession and operation is very much geared to ensuring renewals and drive upsells and cross sells from existing customers. So my suggestion would be to focus on getting this right and a huge customer base that already exists would be properly leveraged and protected against churn. The art of doing that is for another post, or read some of my other posts in this category.
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The employee customer experience connection – fundamentals

Here is an infographic with some supporting source material and an industry overview for context if you want it. Here too is where my interest and expertise in this space lie. This post is intended to dig a little deeper on the subject. Check out the diagram which captures a little more detail than I’ve gone into before and then the notes to elaborate – because its time to level up 💯

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Update on As a Service Trends

Sources for image gallery plus other related articles:

Culture: The Biggest Challenge in Getting the Subscription Model Right

MaaS transit: The business of mobility as a service

The first era of SaaS ends: ‘Best of breed’ was prelude to ‘systems of delivery’

Smart Growth: the Case for Measuring Brain Capital

Customer Experience Redefined: Insights From Chief Customer Officers on the Frontlines

Top 10 IT & Technology Buzzwords You Won’t Be Able To Avoid In 2021

Cisco launches Cisco Plus, a step toward network as a service

Artificial Intelligence as a Service Market Current Development, Growth Rate by Manufacturers – Microsoft, Google, Bigml, IBM, Amazon Web Services, SAP, FICO, SAS Institute, Baidu, Intel, Salesforce

How Subscription Platforms Have Become Revenue-Generating, Real-Time Fan Clubs

Sustainable Fashion: Where the Circular Economy meets the Subscription Economy

Subscription and Usage Management Technology Needs for the Modern Economy

Be more Zoom! COVID’s ‘wake-up call’ to business will fuel Subscription Economy growth, says Zuora CEO Tien Tzuo

Which Streaming Service Has the Most Subscriptions?

In the As-a-Service economy, ‘subscription’ without ‘service’ just won’t fly

Council Post: The New AAS Economy: Why The “As A Service” Sector Is Booming

Can the Subscription Economy Save Financial Services?

Employee customer experience connection – infographic

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A year of tech in charts – pandemic edition

All the charts (click on any to view enlarged) come from an article in the The Information from various different sources: 12 Charts That Show How Tech Took Off During a Year of Shutdowns. The full article requires a subscription but I can share access to The Information with 5 friends or colleagues completely free for 30 days – contact me if interested. It’s well worth it as they do a thorough breakdown of each chart and they are an excellent news source besides.

Here is my super slimmed down, sense-making take on all this, in a nutshell (enough of the superlatives already):

Saying that tech has benefitted from the pandemic sounds like a statement from the department of the bleedin’ obvious. Of course it has and for many obvious reasons. One of them is that technology aids remote work especially technology that is purpose built for it, like collaboration software that supports asynchronous work. Other times, its just that companies that have digitised processes really well stand to benefit – like ride hailing (which didn’t necessarily benefit from the pandemic but have prospered nevertheless) and food delivery (which did).

I’m surprised gaming was not included because that is another huge beneficiary. Other than home working, its probably the biggest reason for the spike in bandwidth.

The jobs dive and start-up formation are more than likely directly correlated. Indirectly too, the move to life online and emptier offices. The general investment, valuations and listings frenzy is probably all down to opportunists or investors wanting to cash in – who knows what happens when the real effects of the pandemic are felt 😬

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Trending

Customer Success and Marketing functions are increasingly interrelated and working together. With scale motions and operations it’s driving customer experiences to new heights. I’m not sure its a new trend but I’ve started watching it here: Customer Success Marketing and Scale

A trend watcher is an innovator that spots trends and determines if they are here to stay and whether they should be incorporated into existing strategy. I enjoy it, it keeps me on my innovation toes and I dabble. I’ve captured this view with a few trends I’m tracking and published reports on already: Trend Watching

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How to measure value for customers

This is a worthy challenge I’ve grappled with before, just check out my posts under the metrics tag. The other day I got my hands on a recently published Forrester report with the same title as this post. I cannot share the report for obvious reasons but this is my review of the highlights of the report which does share some details.

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InnerVentures in a doodle

I’ve taken a short break from work and as you do when you have time, I’ve been thinking. For one, about this site, it’s activities and it’s purpose. I thought I would try and capture it in this doodle (DanelDoodle actually), which is in itself a function of many aspects of this site and my activities. This is a good representation for now and this post contains all the categories I write about for that reason. A good baseline for future progression and supplement to my welcome post.

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Another shift the pandemic has accelerated – enterprise sales

B2B selling was already changing before COVID-19. I’ve written before about how I think customer success practices with their emphasis on product usage is changing sales to be more data and impact driven and more receptive to the user, not just the purchasing unit. This change is not unique to enterprise software sales – think about how you purchase cars these days, I did and it involved very few sales people or even physically seeing the car. VC Andreessen Horowitz looks to startups for inspiration and new research from McKinsey provides data points.

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Two brains on “Everything as a Service” for the price of one

These are some thoughts captured and co-written by Stephen Danelutti and Jason Noble, two long time contributors to the world of Everything As a Service (XaaS) who met recently. We realised our common background and insights and decided to produce this combined thought piece – hope you enjoy.

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As a Service trend research – customer solutions

This is a topic I will be covering as a chapter in my As a Service trend report. It’s not entirely dissimilar to one of the other chapter topics I will be covering and have written about here: As a Service trend research – products to services.

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As a Service trend research – products to services

One of the chapters I am covering in a trend report I am working on (As a Service Trend) will explain how even tangible products can be open to “servicification” and purchased or subscribed to. For example, razors for personal grooming, cars for transport, fork lifts for logistics, etc.

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As a Service trend research – technology ecosystems

One of the chapters I am covering in a trend report I am working on (As a Service Trend) will focus on technology ecosystems. Technology is fundamental to all of the solutions in the new As a Service sphere because of the connection it provides to data, between customer and provider, to physical things, etc. From an ecosystem point of view, I will also be touching on technology platforms as well as looking at the organisation as a platform – a view being explored by many.

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