Facing the New Buyer Reality

November 7, 2015


What if we told you that there was one thing that could transform your sales organization from the inside out?


That by addressing this one thing you could knock out many of your biggest sales issues – the usual suspects, like sales and marketing alignment. Goals and measurement. Productivity.


But, to do it, you would have to stop concentrating all your energy on selling.


It’s not a technology, or a quick fix.


So what is this magical, mysterious answer to all your sales problems?


Focus on the buyer.


(The simplest answer usually is correct.)


From Expectations to Experience


As Gartner analyst and sales transformation expert Tiffani Bova reminds us, “The most disruptive thing in the market is not technology, but rather the customer.” Today’s buyer has tons of information available at their fingertips, literally – through social media, online rating and review sites, Google searches, and connections with other consumers. Forrester research tell us that nowadays buyers do 60-90% of their research and due diligence before engaging a sales rep.


The new buyer mentality has completely shaken up the way business is done, but sales organizations are still struggling to respond. Just as the marketing campaign died, having been replaced by “real-time” contextual marketing, sales processes must also adapt – or die. As it is now in most companies, Bova says, “when a buyer calls in, the sales rep takes them backwards in the journey as they enter them into their CRM system and make sure to cross all the T’s and dot all the I’s before they can put them in their system at the correct percentage of where they are actually at on the journey.”


The solution, according to Bova: The triangulation of technology, sales, and marketing. “It has to be that trifecta of the right products, to the right customers, through the right sales model and all three need to be held accountable. Leaders at the top need to come together to strategically respond to these “new” buyers who are finding their information online first and foremost.” Content is key in bringing together your product, sales, and marketing teams.  Take a look at the way information currently flows to and from these functional areas of your organization – to start, perform a company-wide content audit – and then make sure content is not only mapped to each stage of the sales cycle but is easily accessible when and where your sales team needs it. For more tips, check out our blog on a content-driven approach to sales and marketing alignment.


Win Them Over


“The golden rule for every business man is this: ‘Put yourself in your customer’s place.’” – Orison Swett Marsden


Research shows that today’s customers view their interaction with sales as the least valuable interaction during the buyer’s journey (Gartner). The empowered, technologically savvy consumer doesn’t have the time, or patience, to be sold to. By the time a prospect is engaging with a member of your sales team, odds are good that they already have a baseline education or awareness of your product – which is why a “one size fits all” approach no longer works. The more you can personalize your interactions and content – including your pitch deck, any ROI calculations, datasheets, emails – the better your chances will be to break through the noise and close the deal. Since a salesperson’s time is money and productivity is more important than ever, the process by which you create, distribute, and update this customizable sales content is key.


Unfortunately there’s no way to predict what the “new buyer reality” will look like in one, five, ten years – it’s constantly evolving. “At the end of the day the one thing a sales rep does have control over is how they behave in front of the customer, their research and preparation, their integrity and their ability to drive trust,” says Bova. Make sure your team has the tools they need to adapt and succeed, from initial prep to point of sale, with a complete sales performance support system.


 

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