Sales Engagement: Delivery Matters For Sales Reps
If you’re not engaging, you’re not selling. Most sales reps today understand this, but they don’t know how to make it happen. That’s mostly because today’s buyers have such incredibly high thresholds (and even higher standards) for engagement – and if you don’t capture their genuine interest, you’re not capturing their profitable business.
Sales engagement is the third and final variable in the sales enablement formula for sales reps. So far, we’ve broken out the first variable, sales planning, into its compositional elements – visibility, analysis and prioritization – and the second variable, sales preparation, into its triage of elements – resources, collaboration and guidance.
So, if you want to reach the third and final engagement variable, you have to clinch the delivery.
Sales engagement: DELIVERY, impact and insight.
The Corporate Executive Board – plus our own experience and common sense – tells us that unless buyers are in dire need of a staple item, the buying experience trumps flashy features and cost. Sales reps that deliver information with distinguishing customization, affability and authenticity beat out the generic, the apathetic and what is perceived as phony – every time.
Engaging delivery means making the buying experience easier and more straightforward.
- “Best-in-class B2B sales organizations that deliver through a buyer/sales portal achieve 28% higher revenue than organizations still using unimpressive email attachments to deliver information to buyers.”
- “53% of the purchase decision is buying experience – by far the biggest driver.”
Corporate Executive Board
Okay, so you’re thinking: “But I’m dealing with rational B2B buyers – buyers driven by logic and bottom line, not emotional engagement or subjective experience.” Well, you may want to think twice …
A study conducted by Google and CEB’s Marketing Leadership Council found that B2B buyers are often more emotionally connected to their vendors and service providers than B2C consumers are. Here are some of the findings:
- The connections are there.
Of the hundreds of B2C brands studied, most have emotional connections with just10-40%of consumers. Of theem>nineB2B brands studied, seven surpassed the50%mark in emotional connection.
- The buyer’s just hidden.
B2C companies speak directly to their consumers, but it’s not as cut and dry with B2B sales and marketing. You’re selling to a decision maker who’s subject to a whole slew of opinions and influences, from purchasing committees and third-party buying consultants to corporate procurement processes. This obscures the person in the picture, putting a rational frame around your sales process and edging out emotion.
- It’s all about risk.
“When a personal consumer makes a bad purchase, the stakes are relatively low. Best case, it’s returnable. If not, it might require an explanation to a spouse. Business purchases, on the other hand, can involve huge amounts of risk: Responsibility for a multi-million dollar software acquisition that goes bad can lead to poor business performance and even the loss of a job. The business customer won’t buy unless there is a substantial emotional connection to help overcome this risk.”
- Consensus stirs things up.
“We tend to forget that whenever there are people trying to work together to make a decision, there will be interpersonal and, inevitably, emotional forces at work.” With all the steamy risk and hands in the pot, the B2B buying process fires up more emotions than B2C purchases. It’s just hard to tell because there are so many cooks in the decision-making kitchen.
So in your delivery don’t underestimate the emotional factor together with messaging, insight and impact.
When preparing the sales strategy, delivery matters.
Put email to shame.
- Deliver content and messages through private buyer portals to dramatically improve the buying experience.
- Don’t burden buyers with annoying email attachments. Portals are friendly and convenient, and they open the door to game-changing differentiation.
Give buyers the keys to the suite.
- Set up one convenient location for all the materials you share.
- Make digging through the inbox a thing of the past – no more scouring for last week’s email.
- Ensure that everything is easy to receive, download, read and navigate from any device.
Make it easy for everyone.
- Interact and collaborate with buyers through portals so everything stays in one place, in context and under control. This makes the sales process easier for reps and the buying journey pleasant for buyers.
- Answer questions, share content and guide buyers to key value points that connect the dots for their specific needs.
Keep messaging on point.
- Don’t leave it up to the buyer to make sense of your content. They may be smart, but it’s human nature to digest words differently than they were intended.
- Guide buyers’ interpretations of your value messages with voice annotated documents and videos within the buyer portal.
- Preserve messaging guidelines with marketing-approved content and appropriate voice/tone for a rep’s specific goals and your company’s determined personality.
Build buyer consensus.
- Allow buyers to invite their coworkers into the sales portal, driving home your key value points and building consensus across the buying team.
- Make it easy for your reps to present a clear and consistent value picture, which makes it easier for your buyers to make an informed decision.
Deliver robust presentations without a glitch.
- Send anything you want through the sales portal without worrying about email volume filters kicking it back. Lots of graphics, multimedia attachments and video? No problem.
- Give buyers the full experience without feeling the need to downsize sales presentations or truncate that wow factor.
Next element to dissect:
Stick with us, and we’ll take a microscope to the next element in B2B sales engagement: IMPACT.
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