Traditional selling is dead. In today’s B2B sales market, sales reps win deals by creating experiences for their buyers.
Simply selling no longer cuts it.
Think about how traditional selling works. In its simplest form, sales reps identify customers with a problem that the seller’s product or service solves. The sales rep then uses presentations, phone calls, etc. to convince the buyer (and other members of the customer’s organization) that they need the seller’s solution. Every sales rep action is an effort to drive the deal forward and get the contract signed.
Today’s B2B buyer is remarkably different than the uninformed buyer of the ‘80s and ‘90s. Today’s B2B buyers define their own solutions. They do their own research long before reaching out to a sales rep. In fact, Sales Benchmark Index found that 69% of the buyer’s journey is complete before a salesperson is actively involved in the process.
The problem: Sales reps treat B2B buyers as a means to an end instead of respecting and coaching them through the sales process.
Sales reps get a bad rap: they’re faced with the stereotype that they’re just trying to trap buyers into losing money. Avoid that buyer mistrust by establishing your credibility and industry knowledge, then use that trust to actually help the buyer. Teach your buyers about best practices. Stay open about other possible solutions. Focus on your buyer’s needs instead of your company’s solution. Be a sales guide, not a solution peddler.
Buyers rate trust as the single most important factor when purchasing products or services, ahead of experience and cost. –SAP
What’s going to impress your buyer more: waiting several days before responding to their request or immediately giving them exactly what they need within an hour? It’s not rocket science. Unfortunately, many reps don’t respond quickly because they can’t. They’re either too busy doing other tasks, they don’t know when the buyer is showing interest, or they don’t have the tools to personalize sales resources for their buyers.
The majority of B2B buyers need information in a day or less in order to make an effective decision, with 24% needing information within an hour or less. –Aberdeen
Support your champion
Most likely, your prospect is part of a buying team, which means that they have to convince the other members that your solution is the right choice. Make it easy for them to advocate for you, and they’ll make the selling process easier on you. Everybody wins.
Buying teams find it 81% harder to reach buying consensus across a team than it is to make up their own minds individually. –CEB
Stop focusing on features and start focusing on outcomes. How will buyers benefit from this purchase? Will it make their jobs easier? Improve their standing among peers? By communicating value at the organizational and individual buyer level, you’ll be able to increase buyer engagement.
Buyers who see personal value in a purchase are 71% more likely to buy. –CEB
Map to their buying journey
Just because you’re at the discovery stage in the sales cycle doesn’t mean your buyer is too. You need to align your sales process steps to match your B2B buyer’s journey. By mapping to your buyer’s journey, you can provide much more useful insight, which will lead to higher buyer engagement.
Our friends at STR wrote a great article about their experience with how salespeople can fail to deliver value in the buying process.
90% of buyers state that vendors can effectively differentiate themselves by offering an exceptional customer experience based on meaningful interactions with them at every step of their buying journey. –SAP
A study by Aberdeen found that Best-in-Class companies are 24% more likely than under-performers to use software to automatically track buyer interest levels and how sales is engaging buyers with marketing content.
Here’s what using tracking software leads to:
18% shorter average sales cycles
13% better lead conversation rates
7% higher customer renewal rates
4% better lead acceptance rates
Focusing on the buyer experience works. Schedule a demo to see firsthand all the ways that sales enablement software makes B2B sales easy on sales rep and buyer alike.