Leading Brands Tap New Enablement Tools

Mary Shea
Principal Analyst
September 27, 2017

It’s no secret that digitally savvy buyers are having a profound effect on selling organizations of all kinds. In the past two years, the percentage of B2B buyers who reported that they found going online superior to interacting with a salesperson increased from 53% to 68%.

Come join us at Forrester’s B2B Marketing 2017 forum in Austin, Texas, where Steve Casey, principal analyst at Forrester, will deliver a keynote speech: “The Birth Of The B2B Consumer.”

Steve’s research details how today’s business buyers exhibit consumer-level purchase behavior. As a result of these changing dynamics, the impetus is now on B2B firms to not only drive sales force digital transformation, but also rethink their routes-to-market strategies to deliver the consistent, relevant, and high-value experiences that today’s discerning B2B buyers demand.

Customer-obsessed B2B firms have already begun to enable their direct and indirect sellers with new tools and strategies. Cate Gutowski, who leads General Electric’s (GE’s) global sales force digital transformation, has overseen the development and rollout of an Alexa-like virtual digital assistant designed to increase collaboration and reduce the burden of administrative work on GE’s sellers. Cate will share her experiences as an executive leading this large-scale movement during her session entitled “GE’s Digital Sales Transformation Journey.”

Phil Horn, head of sales and service for the Sacramento Kings, created his own Princeton offense with the Kings’ corporate sales team. With the strong support of ownership, Phil invested in new digital sales technologies, which he then segmented into tools reps should use on a daily, weekly, and monthly cadence. Reps are encouraged to configure the tech stack that best fits their target buyers. Phil will be detailing which tools he’s outlined as the best fit for each buyer touchpoint during his keynote entitled “Choose Your Own Adventure.”

MillerCoors is going through a similar journey, albeit with its partners. Facing increased competition from a growing number of craft beer manufacturers, MillerCoors pushed a dynamic enablement tool out to its distributors. This digital platform allows its indirect sellers to provide real-time data on consumption rates of on-premise restaurant customers complete with detailed ROI calculators. In addition to enabling partner sellers to take an insights-led approach to their sales calls, the platform also delivers advanced reporting back to MillerCoors regarding which marketing assets are most effective. I’ll be leading a session with Jim McNellis and Conor O’Brien who will shed light on MillerCoors’ exciting “Building With Beer” initiative.

Finally, I’ve been working on a new report with my research and writing partner Jake Milender on how leading companies are re-envisioning their routes to market to better address the preferences of current and future buyers. We’ll share examples of B2B firms across various industries that are tackling this challenge head-on. They range from Shell’s work on building a digital highway for its distributors across Latin America, to Carbon Black’s emphasis on a continuous buyer journey as it moves from an on-premise to a cloud-based model, and Home Depot’s acquisition of Interline Brands to shore up its foothold in the contractor procurement segment. I will be highlighting these mini cases and several others in my keynote “Chart A Course For Customer-Centricity Across All Routes To Market.” In addition to sharing these innovative examples, I’ll be unveiling new data and making some specific recommendations on what you can do today to lead your marketing and sales organizations on this exciting adventure.

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