Years of investments in CRM & sales enablement have proven to increase sales motion but with little or no impact on revenue performance. The primary reason is we overwhelm our customers with too many irrelevant outreaches that are ignored and can lead to a negative perception of the sales rep and company.
We have overinvested in sales enablement, trying to fix sales when the real revenue problem is that our customers have a buying problem.
Buying has become increasingly complex, with more than 8+ decision-makers and influencers involved in customer decisions. The number of digital channels and content is increasing exponentially, making it difficult for buyers and buying teams to conduct their research and reach a consensus.
By making the buying process easier, fewer deals stall and closing rates increase.
In the B2B sales world, there’s endless talk about making the buying process easier. Webinars go on and on about creating the ultimate customer experience, and countless eBooks and white-papers offer step-by-step instructions on creating “personalized customer experiences!”
With all the talk about customers’ experiences and all the investment in sales enablement, what is next?
It has to do with expectations. You shop on Amazon Prime; your family and friends shop on their favorite B2C sites. Guess who else enjoys B2C shopping? Your customers!
One of the reasons why we all shop online is the great experience. Companies have mastered the B2C customer buying experience that is easy to use, personalized, and just flat-out works.
As it turns out, your B2B customer expects the same thing in their B2B workday life, an Amazon Prime-like experience.
What’s in a Buying Experience?
B2B buying has dramatically shifted toward digital experiences as Millennials and Gen Z account for more than 50% of the workforce. Simply put, B2B suppliers aren’t selling the way customers want to buy today – digital first.
Digital Leaders are recognizing a growth rate 5x greater than digital laggards. Customers are becoming even more selective during uncertain times. When surveyed, customer experience is rated higher than product and price in the evaluation process.
According to Gartner, 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur through digital channels by 2025. However, most B2B companies haven’t gone beyond a website, email, and the occasional Zoom meeting.
Leading organizations recognize the need to change and embrace the opportunity afforded by digital selling. These leaders are building personalized and collaborative digital customer experiences to align with customer preferences. In doing so, they are positioning themselves to succeed in today’s rapidly changing digital landscape.
As it turns out, your customer has learned to expect the same thing in their work life. Let’s look at the expectations Amazon has set. Today’s B2B buyer wants all the information at their fingertips, for when they need it. They have their own unique needs, their buying process, and their timelines. They prefer to consume information digitally, just as they would scan product reviews and specs on Amazon. They want expertise to be available, not incessant. They want to be in control. They want to buy, not be sold to.
How does a Sales Team adjust to today’s buyer expectations?
To meet the B2C expectations of your B2B customer, there are a few things you can do.
- Make it digital-first. A B2C-like digital experience will get all the information and key people in a personalized and private, digital experience. This makes the sales rep better by having educated customers who then engage when ready.
- Easier to buy. There’s a concept popular amongst behavioral psychologists that says there are reasons to do a thing (promoting pressures) and reasons not to do a thing (inhibiting pressures). Removing the inhibiting pressures will get to a decision much faster than applying more pressure.
- Trust your customer. Sales reps and account managers think they’re in control, but in most cases, they are not. Often, the customer does not understand all the steps in their buying process. The buying teams (Business, IT, Operations, Procurement) have similar and different criteria. Does that mean lay off until they call back? Of course not. But it does mean rethinking your engagement strategy. Strive to provide value, ideas, insights, and collaboration over the “just checking in…” email.
- Know what they need before they know they need it. This may sound difficult, but if you’re able to gauge your customer’s digital body language, let’s call it, you’ll know what to do next to keep their buying journey rolling. Did they watch and share the product overview video? You know how to follow up with a list of frequently asked questions.
- Get the right tech. We’re not saying to fully abandon the likes of the phone, email, and PowerPoint, but there are options out there that make it easier to migrate from delivering sales experiences to designing buying experiences.
Digital Sales Rooms (DSRs)
DSRs have emerged as has the B2B digital customer experience. DSRs provide a convenient, secure, and efficient environment for sales professionals to engage with potential clients and close deals.
Gartner coined the term during the pandemic and the market exploded with new and existing companies launching DSRs. Smart Rooms, by JourneyDXP, is the leading DSR today and is built native to Salesforce.com.
The way your customer buys has fundamentally changed. It’s time you align with their expectations.
Launching a Dynamic Digital-First Customer Experience
Growth will always be a top priority for B2B companies. If not, customers will inevitably outgrow your offering, and your company will become obsolete.
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