By now you have been flooded by “resolution” and “2022 B2B trends” messages. Let’s cut through those parrot calls and get down to the most pressing challenges B2B executive leaders will face this new year.
At Mereo, we have been talking to B2B executives on the frontline. We have watched the data and statistics shaping this year’s realities. All signs indicate a need for leadership to prepare for more waves of employee turnover — as well as for a changing buyer journey.
Are you ready to face — and overcome — these 2022 leadership challenges?
FORTIFY TEAMS AND AVOID TUMULTUOUS TURNOVER
In September 2021 the U.S. Bureau of Labor reported that 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs. That trend tapered by the end of 2021. Yet business leaders we talk to are getting nervous about another coming tremor reminiscent of the Great Resignation. Others are calling on us for advice about their next move to new leadership roles at different organizations.
While the Great Resignation did not hit white collar office positions the hardest last year compared with other industries, turnover has historically been an issue in system functions and other supporting selling roles. Leaders are rightfully worried they will lose key people to competing offers in 2022. How should you respond?
Over Summer and Fall 2021, many leaders handed out bonuses for employee retention. These retention bonuses — while effective in the moment in both retaining employees while not permanently raising salaries — was a one-off benefit that may very well have lost its flame of efficacy. Now leaders need to plan for how to keep key employees on-staff. Salary increases may be appropriate, especially in relation to inflation and market competition. As you look to pay your people more, also consider optimizing the price of your products; how can you increase your value proposition in order to afford the talent you need?
A last point to consider: Texas A&M psychologist Anthony Klotz had predicted and coined the “Great Resignation” in May 2021. While the cause of employee turnover is complex and varies person-to-person, experts like Klotz believe this high turnover was a response born from the great disruptive experience of the pandemic. Past research suggests personal and generational experiences shape our economic behaviors and rewire our brains. Consider how you can Seek to Serve™ your employees beyond the dollar after our shared disruptive experiences in 2020 and 2021.
IDENTIFY AND ADJUST TO NEW BUYER JOURNEYS
How does your customer want to buy in 2022? A new buyer / seller dynamic has emerged post-COVID-19. This had already become apparent by the middle of last year. By now, your go-to-market leadership teams need to be assessing how your buyer’s journey has changed — as well as how your corresponding sales process needs to shift to serve it.
Across industries there will likely remain a hybrid mix with virtual and in-person selling. While virtual selling helps keep costs of sale low, in-person is still an important part of building a trusted advisor relationship.
In the Sales Mastery 2021 Buyer Preferences Study, 44% of buyers indicate turning to vendors they have a past relationship with to uncover business solutions, while 27% will visit websites and just 22% will engage vendor salespeople. Without a relationship of trust and value, the study has found, most buyers forgo engaging salespeople until negotiations — unless there are unique complexities and risks.
How can you adjust specifically for your buyer audiences? Turn to your client advisory board (CAB) to speak directly to your buyer personas and ask them what needs to change and what is most important to them in their buying journey. Take the time to understand what is different now to prepare to serve your buyers best throughout the year and beyond.
PUT BUYERS FIRST IN 2022
Year after year, buyer empowerment has increased. This is no trend, no new resolution to focus on. Learn how your selling teams can adjust their approach and culture to drive the most value along your buyer’s journey. Download The Complete Sales Organization Guide to Seek to Serve, Not to Sell for expert, step-by-step guidance.