The End of B2B Sales and Marketing as We Know It?

Value Selling and Marketing Consultancy Alinean Presents Five Predictions for 2011 and Beyond

Dec 07, 2010, 11:30 ET from Alinean

ORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 7, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Alinean, the leading creator of value-based interactive sales and marketing tools for B2B vendors, today announced five predictions on B2B sales enablement and marketing strategies for 2011.

"In the face of the recent economic downturn, B2B buyers are more frugal than ever. Even with recovery predicted for 2011, a new 'age of austerity' keeps buyers seeking bottom-line impact and value from every investment," states Tom Pisello, Chairman and Founder of Alinean. "At the same time, B2B buyers are taking advantage of information available via the Internet and social media to become empowered, taking charge of the buying cycle."

From Alinean research and best practices work with leading B2B sales and marketing groups, here are the Company's top 5 predictions for 2011:

1. Internet Fueled Buying Cycles on the Rise – Similar to the B2C buying revolution where the Internet fundamentally changed how goods are bought and sold, B2B prospects are taking charge of the buying cycle using online content marketing, resources and tools to drive research, comparisons and purchase decisions. Savvy B2B marketers will recognize the "consumerization" of B2B, significantly increasing content marketing investments in 2011 to deliver the right content and interactive decision support tools at the appropriate right step in the buying cycle.

2. The Death of a Salesman? At the same time as buyers are becoming more empowered, sales professionals are seen by these buyers as less valuable in the decision making process. As a result, sales professionals are being invited later in the buying cycle, often coming after key decisions have already been made. In 2011, many organizations will go to a direct Internet model and "buy it now," while others will redefine the sales role and invest in making sales professionals relevant again with important content and tools.

3. It's Only a Matter of Trust – B2B buyers will rely more on online presence to make judgments as to whether they will do business with a company. So, online presence needs to overcome typical vendor skepticism, convey credibility and gain trust. In 2011, significant investments in content and tools will be needed to create a "circle of trust" with skeptical buyers, including independent endorsements, peer and analyst reviews, success stories and validation.

4. Information Overload – Even though B2B buyers are relying on the Internet to fuel purchase decisions, these buyers are inundated with marketing messages over diverse channels, leading to information overload, confusion and stalled decision making. Significant investments in better content, targeting and personalization will be made in 2011 to end "carpet bombing" B2B marketing techniques, evolving to create a dialogue with buyers to guide them through the decision making process and buying lifecycle with personalized one-to-one advice.

5. Fight Frugalnomics – Today, B2B buyers are focused more than ever on what solutions are available to enable "doing-more-with-less," driving savings and realizing quantifiable bottom-line impact. To fight Frugalnomics, savvy marketers will need to make even more investments in content and tools for 2011, aimed at helping buyers assess and quantify the economic impact of implementing the proposed solutions, quantify the cost of "doing nothing" and prove competitive cost advantages and value.

"B2B sales and marketing are fundamentally being shaped in 2011 by the Internet empowered buyer, increased skepticism, information overload and Frugalnomics, driving the need for key investments in content marketing, personalization, interactive tools and sales enablement," adds Pisello. "The savvy marketing and sales enablement professional will proactively recognize the issues that the frugal and empowered decision maker creates, using 2011 to reshape the strategies and investments to better engage, dialogue and sell to ever more empowered, skeptical, overloaded and frugal buyers."

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About Alinean

Alinean is the leading developer of value-based interactive demand generation and sales tools – driving sales and marketing effectiveness by empowering B2B solution providers to better prove and improve the value of solutions to frugal prospects and customers. Alinean fundamentally changes the way that B2B solution providers engage with prospects – via targeted SaaS-delivered interactive tools that revolutionize corporate website interactions, sales presentations and proposals from antiquated feature/function/price selling, to customer-focused value engagements. Alinean tools are used to automate opportunity discovery, align goals and solutions and quantify return on investment (ROI) by companies such as HP, IBM, Microsoft, EMC, Dell, Intel, AT&T, Siemens, Unisys, Thomson Reuters, NetApp, Citrix, Symantec, Novell, Cisco, Oracle, Sybase, and CA. To help B2B vendors understand and implement best practices to meet today's economic buyer needs, Alinean has created the Fight Frugalnomics™ Resource Center at http://www.fightfrugalnomics.com. For more information about Alinean, visit http://www.alinean.com/ or call 407.382.0005.

Alinean® is a trademark of Alinean, Inc., in the United States. All other brands, products or service names are or may be trademarks, registered trademarks or service marks of, and used to identify, products or services of their respective owners.

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