Our thinking

Service is the new sales

November 19, 2019 • 5 min read
Jason Michaels
Managing Director – Song
Kevin Doohan
Former Managing Director – Song​

The through line for B2B growth

With one-third of B2B buyers worldwide saying their customer experience expectations have increased in the last year, and 44 percent of B2B buyers switching sellers in the past 12 months, today's global B2B marketplace is filled with extraordinary pressure and competition. Accenture Interactive's latest global research suggests a path to B2B relationship success driven by experiences that connect the human and the digital to provide a deeper, more personalized level of service.1

A rising rift

Our research identified a rift between buyers' expectations and average seller experiences, underpinning an unprecedented seller-switching trend and highlighting a buyer trend towards exploring options and embracing change.

To survive in the digital ecosystem, some B2B sellers have focused on digital upgrades only, while others remain focused on organic 1:1 sales cycles, disregarding critical digital tools. Both scenarios create a buyer-seller service disconnect that compromises even the best B2B relationships.

Connected experiences, better service

Buyer and seller success is achievable for those committed to an elevated service standard hyper-focused on buyer needs, personal relationships, and intelligent interactions. In fact, our research shows that B2B leaders are already benefitting from a service-over-sales approach:

say they have gained a greater share of their customers' wallets

report higher profitability​

say they have gained greater market share​

have seen more sales from initial website clicks​
The bigger picture
We interviewed 748 buyers and 1,499 sellers across 10 countries, in 16 industries to give a robust and accurate picture of the global state of buyer-seller relationships.

The path to service-over-sales success

  1. Leveraging technology to unlock data
    Technology is most effective when it helps brands be more human. Service-minded sellers are more likely to use technology to overcome barriers and 2x as likely to have centralized and current data.
  2. Creating a digital-human dream team
    Digital solutions will never replace the value of human interaction. Service-oriented orgs fortify their salesforce with digital tools, support, and data-driven insights to better serve their buyers.
  3. Rewiring for a more connected organization
    The roadmap to service success is as much about organizational evolution as digital investment, and the most successful efforts begin at the very top with leadership support and buy-in.
There has never been a more important time for B2B sellers to commit to their buyers and adopt business practices that bring mutual success and drive the bottom line. A connected, personalized buyer-seller relationship that is continuously nurtured will result in faster sales and increased growth—and long-term shared success.

1 Accenture 2018 Pulse Research
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