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hannah ajikawo buying experience
March 12, 2024

The Adapter’s Advantage: Hannah Ajikawo on How Enablement Can Help Improve the Buying Experience

hannah ajikawo buying experience

In the ever-evolving landscape of B2B sales, the quest for a seamless and efficient buying experience remains a critical challenge. Determined to mend the fragmented B2B buying journey, Hannah Ajikawo, the visionary founder of Revenue Funnel, has strong ideas on how sales enablement can help solve the problem. She sat down with me recently to discuss them and how we can transform this dynamic.

During our conversation, Episode 62 of The Adapter’s Advantage podcast, we delved into the complexities and nuances of the current B2B sales environment. We discussed how traditional sales models are being disrupted by the need for more integrated and customer-centric approaches. And Ajikawo shared her thoughts on the pivotal role technology plays in bridging the gap between sellers and buyers, emphasizing the importance of leveraging data-driven insights and AI to personalize the buying experience and streamline the sales process.

Watch the video to hear our conversation or continue reading to see the highlights.

Episode 62: Enablement’s Role in Today’s Buying Journey | Hannah Ajikawo

Listen and Subscribe Now: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | TuneIn

Fixing the Broken B2B Buying Experience

The crux of Ajikawo’s approach lies in her critical observation of the B2B buying experience—a process often marred by misalignment and inefficiency. She argues that while many organizations profess to prioritize the buyer’s journey, their actions frequently fall short, defaulting to aggressive sales tactics over genuine assistance.  This discrepancy has led to a growing distrust among buyers, who now prefer to conduct their research independently, reaching out to sales teams only when absolutely necessary.

“When you look at the research, [you can see buyers are saying], ‘I don’t want to talk to you,’” Ajikawo said.

Ajikawo’s insight extends beyond just identifying the problem. She proposes a transformative strategy aimed at redefining the sales approach to align more closely with buyer expectations. Central to her philosophy is the concept of Value-Based Selling, a methodology that emphasizes understanding the unique challenges and needs of each buyer to provide tailored solutions, rather than pushing products through standardized pitches. This approach requires a deep dive into the buyer’s industry, business, and even their competitors, to offer insights and solutions that resonate on a personal level.

By fostering a culture of empathy and support, organizations can shift from being viewed as mere vendors to trusted advisors, Ajikawo said. In addition, leveraging digital tools and data analytics allows you to gain deeper insights into buyer behavior, preferences, and pain points. This data-driven strategy enables sales reps to anticipate needs and offer solutions before the buyer even articulates them, thereby creating a more proactive and engaging buying experience, she said.

In a marketplace where buyers are inundated with choices and information, Ajikawo’s approach offers a path to differentiation through genuine engagement and value creation. By prioritizing the buyer’s needs and fostering a relationship based on trust and mutual benefit, organizations can navigate the complexities of the B2B landscape more effectively, leading to sustained growth and customer loyalty.

How Sales Enablement Bridges the Buyer-Seller Gap

At the heart of Ajikawo’s message is the pivotal role of sales enablement in bridging the gap between buyers and sellers. She contends that the essence of sales enablement should be to empower salespeople to genuinely help buyers, rather than pushing products.

This paradigm shift requires a deep understanding of the buyer’s journey and a commitment to adding value at every touchpoint. Trusted advisors are recognized for their expertise, integrity, and genuine interest in solving their customers’ problems. So, if you foster an environment where sales teams are seen as trusted advisors, you can begin to rebuild trust and pave the way for more meaningful engagements, she said.

“Companies [that] are doing it really well are companies that understand the value that each stakeholder inside their organization can play,” Ajikawo said. By leveraging senior stakeholders, it signals to the customer that the entire business is engaged and involved in solving their problems.

Organizations should encourage a shift in mindset from selling to problem-solving, she said. That means redefining success to be the impact solutions have on a customer’s success, not by the volume of sales. Sales teams should approach interactions with a genuine curiosity about the buyer’s situation and a commitment to finding the best solution, even if it means recommending a different path that may not immediately lead to a sale, Ajikawo said.

This problem-solving approach demonstrates a dedication to the buyer’s success above the company’s immediate sales goals, building trust and loyalty over time. By fostering an environment where sales teams are perceived as trusted advisors, organizations can fundamentally alter the B2B sales landscape, she said.

Sales Teams Must Embrace Digital Sales Rooms (DSRs)

In a digital-first buying environment, technology plays a crucial role in helping sellers engage with customers. One of the most innovative tools to come on the scene is Digital Sales Rooms (DSRs), and Ajikawo said sales teams must use them to provide a buying experience that today’s buyers want.

Digital Sales Rooms allow “you to do your best in the earliest part of that buyer journey, … where you have the biggest influence.”
—Hannah Ajikawo

DSRs offer a unique opportunity for sales reps to engage with buyers in a collaborative and non-intrusive manner. They allow sellers to share curated, valuable content tailored to the buyer’s specific needs, enabling the reps to be part of the buyer’s journey from an early stage, she said. This proactive engagement model facilitates a deeper understanding of the buyer’s challenges and opportunities, ensuring that sales efforts are both relevant and timely.

Moreover, leveraging DSRs helps sales reps establish a continuous dialogue with their customers, fostering a relationship built on trust and mutual understanding.

DSRs allow “you to do your best in the earliest part of that buyer journey, … where you have the biggest influence,” Ajikawo said. “They allow [you] to have an always-on conversation without saying, ‘Just checking in’ or ‘bumping this to the top of your inbox.’”

This ongoing engagement allows sales professionals to anticipate client needs, offer proactive solutions, and adjust their strategies based on real-time feedback. As a result, sales reps are not just viewed as vendors but as trusted advisors who play a critical role in achieving the client’s business objectives.

The shift towards service-oriented selling and the emphasis on value creation are central to a revamped B2B buying experience, Ajikawo said. By focusing on the buyer’s needs and leveraging tools like DSRs, sales teams can move beyond transactional relationships to become indispensable partners in their clients’ success. This approach not only enhances the buying experience but also drives sustainable growth for both sellers and buyers alike.

Next Steps for Transforming B2B Sales

The next steps for organizations involve integrating Value-Based Selling principles into their core sales strategies and operational frameworks. This entails not only adopting new technologies but also reevaluating, and often reshaping, the organizational mindset and sales culture to ensure alignment with these forward-thinking principles.

The role of leadership in this transformation cannot be overstated, Ajikawo said. Leaders must champion these changes, demonstrating a commitment to the new sales philosophy through their actions and policies. This includes recognizing and rewarding behaviors that align with value-based and consultative selling, as well as providing the tools and resources necessary for sales teams to succeed.

By embracing these principles, organizations can not only overcome the inherent challenges of the B2B buying experience but also position themselves as leaders in the digital age.

About The Adapter’s Advantage

Our podcast features leaders from sales, training, and industry who share their personal journeys of transformation and how they are adapting to an ever-changing environment. As your host, I’ll introduce you to some of the most interesting and inspiring people I’ve met over the last 20 years.

The conversations dive into the ups and downs of their journey. Our guests focus on inflection points—the aha moments that, in retrospect, had a critical impact on their success. These interviews will leave you with practical, real-world advice that you can apply to your life.

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