What’s the biggest challenge facing B2B sales and marketing professionals in 2018?

A few days ago, I ran across a fascinating report which surveyed almost 400 sales leaders in Sweden on their top challenges for the coming year. Not surprisingly, the challenges that were mentioned are very similar to the ones I hear from business leaders here in Nashville.

Do any of these challenges sound familiar?

The Biggest Sales Challenges for 2018 (and How to Overcome Them)

Challenge #1: Understanding Customer Behavior in a Digital World

Historically, a salesperson could control a majority of the buying process. That’s changed in a digital age. Because buying behavior now takes place largely online, the study’s authors say that establishing an accurate understanding of customer behavior today “is an analytical endeavor that requires a framework, allocated time, and resources.”

The good news is that strategies like inbound marketing and social listening allow you to get a better understanding of your customer behavior. What resources are they downloading? What pages are they viewing on your website? How can you encourage them to take the “natural next step” and eventually raise their hand to talk with someone on your team? Guiding people to take the next step through lead nurturing and marketing automation is a powerful way to overcome the obstacles of understanding customer behavior.

Challenge #2: Implementing Scalable Sales Strategies

Because the buyer journey can’t be controlled by the salesperson, it can be difficult to implement effective sales strategies. How do you know when someone is ready to buy? How do you help them take the next step? These can be difficult questions to solve in a digital-first sales environment.

While you may not be able to control the sales process, you can still map out the ideal customer experience and lead prospects through it.

Challenge #3: Creating Unique Value for Prospects

With the shift in buyer behavior has come the challenge of finding new ways to differentiate value against the competition. Thus, the job of value creation switches back to salespeople, who are under pressure to do it in less time with the customer, and with less information, than ever before.

Learning how to create content prospective customers crave, focusing on helping your potential customers, and aligning your sales and marketing teams are essential for making sure you’re creating the value your prospects need to trust you.