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“Sales reps are uniquely positioned to identify the specific needs of a buying group and the challenges they encounter when making a large, complex purchase,” said Brent Adamson, distinguished vice president at Gartner. “Today’s most valued currency is information – specifically, information that is going to help make these massive B2B purchases easier for the customer. The sales reps that our research finds to be the most successful in this world, do just that. They provide customers with the right information to help them anticipate and address obstacles that could otherwise undermine purchase progress.”
Gartner research identified two types of rep styles in this information-focused environment and compared their performance in delivering value:
Information Authority: This sales rep is known as an expert for providing informed opinion based on personal experience. They deliver advice to customers from an individual perspective. Information authorities have likely climbed their way up to the top of the sales organization as managers and subject matter experts because of their in-depth knowledge.
Information Connector: These reps serve as curators or brokers of information rather than individual experts. They largely focus on directing customers to the right information, tools and data rather than relying on individual experience.
Gartner research found the “information connector” increases the likelihood of purchase ease by 40 percent, while the “information authority” increases it by only 10 percent. Not only do connectors make it easier for customers to complete a purchase; they also increase likelihood of buyers making a larger, complex and low-regret purchase by 90 percent.
“Sales reps should now think of themselves as ‘buying Sherpas,’ actively guiding customers along the difficult buying journey,” added Mr. Adamson. “We’re seeing a redefinition of sales, where sales reps who are able to connect customers to helpful information are better positioned to become more important to the success of the organization over time.”