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If you choose to go out for lunch, do you go inside and place your order with the person behind the counter? or do you take matters into your own hands?
Select your meal through the self-serve kiosk, tap your card, print your receipt and wait for your order, easy breezy. The days of being greeted by a smiling friendly face are slowly becoming a thing of the past.
Where is the shift coming from? COVID 19 has forced us to work remotely, search online for solutions, consume information in our own way and when it is convenient for us.
We know where to start and we are happy to do it on our own. In some selling situations, adding a salesperson to the mix invites too many hand off’s, prolonged purchases and redundant steps.
Does this mean there is no need for salespeople? Definitely not, we are still needed, our role has changed. Buyers are online, they are knowledgeable, have access to all the information required to make a decision. If we are going to add value, we facilitate a buying decision.
Remove friction, educate, share insights ask thought-provoking questions to get a better sense of what problem they are really trying to solve and create a digital experience with them.
Let’s be clear, they are in the driver’s seat.
Most people want ownership over their order- they want to avoid mistakes, duplication- adding mustard when you specifically told them to hold it. You know what you want, why introduce another layer?
Buyers today are highly knowledgeable, independent and digital.
It seems as though digital transformation was heading this way; the pandemic has brought it to us earlier than expected. So how as salespeople do we fight for our buyers’ time, get them to choose us vs taking the solo route?
Amazon makes it too easy; they have set the bar high for both purchases and returns. It is a familiar, repeatable experience. Easy check-out process, no confusion which invites repeat purchases. Our website should provide an experience for their buyer. If it frustrates them, confuses them or they are unsure what you do, you can be certain they will not buy.
What metrics are you using to measure your buyers’ actions? what are they are responding to at what stage of their buying journey? What are they downloading? Are they signing up for webinars? Downloading white papers, these insights will provide feedback as to how aligned you are with your buyer and the stage they’re at.
2. Meet them where they are. What platform are they on? LinkedIn, FB, IG, Clubhouse. Does your message and insights align with the stage they are in? Most buyers know if they are in the Awareness, Consideration or decision stage. Your job is to determine if they are a sophisticated or unsophisticated buyer. Asking questions about past decisions, processes, timelines, experiences will shed some light if this is their first time or not. If this is the case, your role is to facilitate a buying decision. Teach them about the process, next stages, competition, share similar customer stories, sell the next stages so they have clear sight into the future. Allow them to see how the smaller steps fit into the big picture. If they are a sophisticated buyer, let them lead, support them and be there for them but they know what they want.
3. In complex sales, conducting virtual meetings is part of the process. Whether it is a virtual discovery meeting, exploratory calls, demos etc. Do you have the technology and skill set to do this effectively?
According to Gartner, 73% of B2B buyers say the winning supplier’s seller for purchase was effective or highly effective at virtual meetings.
To support this 74% of CSO’s report they have recently or are currently updating their seller skills profile for virtual selling and 61% of CSO’s are already investing in new technology to enable virtual selling.
“We know buyers have lower attention spans, body language is difficult to observe, key decision-makers and leaders may delegate virtual calls to junior contacts and stakeholders may be more reluctant to challenge viewpoints in large buying groups, making it harder to facilitate consensus”. - Gartner
Using synchronous and asynchronous customer engagement is a great way to engage, demonstrate your respect for time and allow them to consume the information as they wish.
The digital transformation has shown buyers what is possible.
But what does this increased level of buyer independence, confidence and control mean for B2B sales?
It does expose that sellers need to move away from the traditional, non-digital sales process? Meet your buyers where they are, have a virtual process and presence to engage your clients. There is no room to “phone it in”.
According to McKinsey “more than three quarters of buyers and sellers say they now prefer digital self-serve and remote human engagement over face-to-face interactions.” Safe to say this is the new way of business.
What are you doing to create a digital experience for your buyer?
For 20 years Karen has been specializing in the art and science of sales and communication her passion and experience are helping technical sales professionals become more confident and to disrupt with value.
Her dedication to developing and delivering customized sales training programs provide her audience practical, relevant tools that can be used immediately to break down the barriers in a competitive landscape and separate themselves from the noise.