Why is understanding business needs so critical to B2B buyers?

When buyers feel confident the sales rep understands their pain points, they’re also reassured that the rep will find the best solution to address those pain points and fill a need. In fact, solving business needs is a high priority for B2B buyers. Sales professionals who understand these needs will solve fundamental business problems for their buyers and have a greater success at closing deals than their counterparts who choose not to listen at all.

However, gaining a deep understanding of these buyers requires significant effort, patience, and good listening skills. It’s a journey that can take quite some time to perfect. When you’re a sales rep and you’re selling a product or service to a business buyer, understanding the other person is critical to your career success. Among other items, you must discover:

  • What’s changed in their environment that’s driving their need for your product or service now.
  • Which competitors’ offerings they may also be considering.
  • What impact those unmet needs are having on their companies, including wasted time, inefficiencies, or unrealized revenue.

Which Sales Qualities Are Most Important to Buyers?

When Primary Intelligence analyzed 1,000 B2B sales opportunities collected over 11 months, buyers stated the losing vendors didn’t understand their business needs effectively, especially compared to the winning vendor. In addition to understanding buyer needs, the report also revealed responsiveness, presentation, and lack of interest from the sales team as the most common sales-related weaknesses. Our research found that buyers said sales issues were the most prevalent weakness a losing vendor could have corrected to win.

We see no reason why sellers’ ability to understand their buyers’ business needs will decline in importance in the near or long term. In the thousands of B2B telephone interviews we conduct annually with buyers, respondents voice their praise for sales reps who take the time to understand—really understand—their environments, markets, competitors, and pain points. They also express disdain—sometimes contempt—for sales reps who don’t have the patience or willingness to invest their time in understanding buyer needs.

How are Sales Reps Doing?

When evaluating B2B buyer feedback from over 10,000 interviews, we found that less than half of all buyers—only 43 percent—rated their sales reps as “excellent” in understanding their needs. And nearly 20 percent—one in five buyers—rated their sales reps as “poor” in understanding their needs.

While sales professionals in some industries, deal sizes, and geographic regions perform better than others in developing a solid understanding of their buyers’ needs, it’s clear that there’s significant room for improvement in how effectively most sales reps understand the needs of their B2B buyers.

Moving the needle from “poor” to “excellent,” or even from just “poor” to “average,” will help sellers gain a competitive advantage over other companies and increase their buyers’ level of satisfaction, not only with the product or service being evaluated, but with buyers’ overall decision satisfaction, the likelihood they’ll recommend the seller to a colleague, and the chances the buyer will choose them in the future.

eBook: Align Your Solution to Buyer Pain PointsAlign Your Solution to Buyer’s Pain Points…To Win More Deals

Your prospects are too busy to bother with any sales rep who promises a solution without a comprehensive understanding of their business needs.

“Align Your Solution to Buyer’s Pain Points…To Win More Deals” eBook shows you how to stand out with 7 crucial steps to understanding buyer needs.

Download the eBook