Much has been written about the evolution of the self-directed B2B buyer. The migration of B2C buying behaviors into the B2B world changed sales forever. At SBI, we have seen four eras emerge. It is important you know which era your buyers are in so you can respond correctly.  Let’s explore the four.


Era 0 – Buyer Behavior Change (2009–2010)

Buyers started discovering information on their problems and potential solutions independently. They began to de-value the relationship with the salesperson. Sales teams did not yet recognize the change in buyer behavior and did not adjust their approach. 


Era 1 – Frantic Experimentation (2010–2011)

Sales forces responded to the changes in buyer behavior with various tactics. Companies started to experiment with things such as inbound marketing and marketing automation. New, gimmicky sales methodologies hit the street, such as The Challenger Sale and Social Selling. Lots and lots of activity occurred but with little results.


Era 2 — Sales Strategies (2012–2013)

Documented sales strategies were more the norm. Executives learned the difference between tactics and strategy. Yet many sales and marketing leaders did not understand how to be a strategist. They grew up in a time where they could make the number on effort and charisma. This learning curve whipped out many well-intentioned leaders. For example, the sales leader began to realize he/she needed to integrate the sales strategy with the marketing strategy but did not know how. The marketing leader needed to integrate the marketing strategy with the product strategy but had never been trained how to do this. CEOs realized that despite having functional strategies, the revenue growth problem remained unsolved.



Era 3 — Strategic Alignment (2014–Present)

Strategies designed in isolation don’t grow revenues. The alignment between revenue-facing functions is called Strategic Alignment. You know you are strategically aligned when product, marketing, sales, and talent strategies are connected. This is strategic alignment in a nutshell. You are internally aligned functionally and externally aligned with the market. Revenue growth is no longer a sales goal. All the functions understand their roles, and they play them in a coordinated fashion.

How it Feels to Make Your Number

It has never been more important for the product team, marketing department, and the sales organization to work together, but it’s easier said than done. Turn to page 46 to learn the prescription for developing your 2016 sales strategy, with critical inputs from product management and marketing.


Matt Sharrers

Leads the firm's focus on the CEO’s role in accelerating revenue growth by embracing emerging best practices to grow revenue faster than the industry and competitors. 

Matt Sharrers is the CEO of SBI, a management consulting firm specialized in sales and marketing that is dedicated to helping you Make Your Number. Forbes recognizes SBI as one of The Best Management Consulting Firms in 2017.


Over the course of nearly a decade at SBI, Matt Sharrers was an instrumental early partner guiding SBI as the Senior Partner. Matt’s functional responsibilities included acting as the head of sales where he led SBI’s double-digit revenue growth, and was responsible for the hiring function to build SBI’s team of revenue generation experts.


Prior to joining SBI in 2009, Matt spent eleven years leading sales and marketing teams as a Vice President of Sales. Matt has “lived in the field.” As a result, he is the foremost expert in the art of separating fact from fiction as it relates to revenue growth best practices. CEOs and Private equity investors turn to Matt’s team at SBI when they need to unlock trapped growth inside of their companies.



Read full bio >