How to align your sales process steps to match your buyers
Improve the buyer experience and increase wins through this 7 step sales process
B2B buyers and sellers are rarely on the same page. Often, the seller is following structured sales process steps that don’t match up with the buyer’s journey, leading to frustration, miscommunication and stalled sales deals.
Forget the traditional sales process flowchart. When developing a B2B sales process, the thing you need to focus on is aligning with the steps your buyers are taking toward finding a solution.
The typical buying process
Here’s what buyers are doing in each step of their journey and the sales techniques reps can use to capitalize on each stage of the 7 step sales process:
Buyers: They are either beginning to realize that there is a problem that needs to be dealt with, or they are doing initial research to find out why they are falling behind their competitors.
Sellers: If you’re lucky enough to be talking to the buyer at this stage, this is your best opportunity to demonstrate your industry expertise. Challenge the buyer to discover issues that they didn’t even know they had.
Buyers: Now that the buyers know they have a problem, they’re trying to figure out what can be done to solve it.
Sellers: First, determine if your solution can solve their problem. If not, don’t waste time pursuing the deal. If it’s a good fit, start developing a strategy to position your strengths as the best solution to their pain and guide them through the sales funnel.
Buyers: At this point, the buyers are researching all available solutions and deciding which ones are worth pursuing further.
Sellers: Establish trust with your buyer by offering unbiased industry research and even suggesting they look at your competitors’ products. The industry insight you provide will help strengthen the relationship and give credence to the message about the value of your own solution.
Buyers: Once they reach the evaluation stage, buyers are focusing on the specific details about which solution can truly solve their problem and provide the best results.
Sellers: This is your time to shine. Keep on challenging your buyers and presenting your solution as the best in class. Expand the buying team to ensure there are no hidden nay-sayers who could shut down the deal.
Buyers: Buyers eventually start eliminating some of the competition for various reasons, such as high cost, lack of key features or even just because they don’t like the seller.
Sellers: Try to give your buyers the best possible experience. Keep an eye on the buying teams’ activity and watch for any signals that they are starting to lose steam. Work with your champion to address any objections and assure the team that you are the best fit. While you can’t completely avoid the cost conversation, try to keep the buyer focused on the value you provide.
Buyers: This is when the buying team really starts to expand, and new requirements and requests start pouring in. Procurement and compliance might get involved. It’s no longer just about your solution— it’s about your company’s track record. Are you still going to be around in a year? Can you prove the results you’re promising? Can they get a better deal than what you’re offering?
Sellers: You’re almost there. You want to make sure that you are responding quickly to all of the requests. Work with your contracts department to make sure that nothing gets stalled.