We know that B2B buyers have gone digital, researching their way through up to 60% (if not more) of their decision making process on their own.  

This article from Gartner perfectly summarises the challenges that brings to sales teams but also the opportunity.   Credit to Edyta Malesza-Malatrat for sharing the post with me :-)

Here's the summary:

Sellers no longer have the ability to influence a customer. According to Gartner, out of their entire buying journey, they spend just 17% of their time with potential suppliers. Ouch!

Sales processes have become so complex with more people involved in the decision making process.  Form 6-10 people are now involved, lengthening the cycle and making it unpredictable. 

Buyers have a set of 'jobs' to complete in their sales process and it's the job sales to answer these questions including "What are the options for solving our issue?  What do we need to purchase?  How long will it take?"  Sales and marketing need to focus on answering these questions.

Buyers blaze their own trail.  They don't follow a predictable path in fact quite the opposite.  They dance around all over the funnel which is why sales teams need to focus more on serving than selling - assisting the buyer through their journey.

Timely information drives decision making.  Gartner research found that customers who perceived the information they received from suppliers to be helpful in advancing across their buying jobs were 2.8 times more likely to experience a high degree of purchase ease

It does call into question whether traditional ways of measuring sales success needs to be reviewed.  

Given the unpredictable nature of prospects jumping all over the funnel, progression is less predictable. 

It also goes to further endorse the importance of sales and marketing alignment - not to each other but around their customer.