Put yourself in your customers’ shoes for a hot minute. You’re a leader who has to figure out how to solve a big problem in your department. The choices are risky and poorly defined, and you’re going to have to get buy-in from a mob of stakeholders with competing priorities. But you’re not ready to call in vendor help because you don’t want to get chased by sales teams and dumped into some annoying marketing drip campaign.
Maybe you’ll update your current platform and processes—probably just a Band-Aid and not exactly a career-making move, but safe. You could invest in new technology and all the hair-raisingly hard work that entails. Or you could just outsource the whole function.
Either way, implementing change is going to eat up absurd quantities of time, money, and resources … and most people will hate whatever you decide, at least for the first bit.
Lacking a solid hypothesis about which way to turn, you jump on the internet—and hit an impenetrable wall of inflated claims, confusing tech, and features you’re not sure you need.
You’re ready to learn, and you’d welcome relevant guidance from an experienced human. This is the moment when vendors have a huge opportunity to shape buying decisions—but usually fall flat on their faces.
B2B buyers are hiding from you. Here’s how to reel them back in
Even with a digital-first buying journey, where a lot of the research legwork happens online, buyers want—hell, they need—human connection. A sherpa to help them navigate the terrain and identify solutions for their particular problems. (Every buyer thinks their situation is unique … but you recognize 80% of problems in roughly 10 seconds.)
When vendors become trusted guides, building trust through timely and deeply relevant interactions and frictionless selling, they create engaged buyers.
Pssst: Create one helluva Buying Team Experience and deals will close faster and easier … so you might want to stick around for the rest. Because we’re about to show you how to do it.
How will you know you have an engaged buyer?
- They share what business challenges they’re trying to solve, not just what features they’re looking for.
- They reveal what direction they’re leaning in.
- They want your opinion about which tech, features, and services they need.
- They ask you what others in their space have done.
- They introduce you to other people from the buying committee.
Sales people love partnering with engaged buyers: you know, the ones leaning in for advice. They help you avoid surprises and—best of all—progress deals faster and with less fuss. They don’t waste your time.
But you can’t hack your way into buyer engagement. You have to earn it.
3 steps for earning buying team engagement
- Start building trust with relevant content: Roughly one-third of sales teams are unable to access relevant content, according to one study. Buyers want solutions to their problems. For instance, a customer service leader isn’t necessarily looking for fancy AI features, but they do want efficient solutions for recurring problems (that AI may well be equipped to solve).
- Nurture trust with relevant interactions: Buyers don’t want to be sold at—they want to talk with someone who’s prepared enough to explore options with them. Do their problems lend themselves to tech-based, self-service solutions? What rollout challenges is their organization likely to face?
- Design a process that lets the buying team participate when and how they want: Don’t expect every stakeholder to read every piece of content or attend every meeting. But do ensure they have access to relevant, curated, multimedia content that addresses their biggest pain points and needs.
Do these three things well, and you won’t need to spend all your efforts chasing buyers.
We call this model the Buying Team Experience. And it turns targeted, adversarial buyers into engaged collaborators.
Oh, so you think it’s easy?
It’ll be hard to throw out the old playbook. Most companies have built their culture, infrastructure, and processes to support an adversarial selling culture.
Plus, if it were easy to make the experience relevant to every buyer during every interaction, it wouldn’t be such a potent advantage.
But moving toward the Buying Team Experience model is doable—and most B2B companies don’t have a choice in the long run. Digital-first isn’t going away, problems aren’t getting less complex, and buyers aren’t getting less sophisticated.
How do you start? Glad you asked, because we have a guide for that. (Wink.) You can read Woo, Don’t Pursue here. And if you’re short on time, here are a few key points:
- Empower your sellers to ditch the script. You want to equip your sellers with knowledge to help your buyers make complex decisions. But they don’t have time to cram for every sales call like it’s a pop quiz. So give sellers a virtual cheat sheet. Think: guided selling tools, easy product visualizations and intuitive content navigation so they can react on the fly.
- Prepare your sellers with more real-life scenarios. Collaborative selling is an intuitive skill, not an academic one, and it requires real-world coaching more than teaching. You’ll make it easy for managers to coach—and for sellers to learn from top-performing peers—when you use tech that keeps sales calls in view.
- Improve content with data, not hunches. Any company worth its salt is using analytics to improve its web experience and content, but most have no clue which content impacts revenue. It’d be crazy to run a website without analytics, so why are you sharing content by email where you can’t track performance? Keeping content contained within a sales enablement platform lets you continually refine messaging and assets, based on data.
- Pay attention to your buyers. Your sellers are sharing content, but do they know what happens next? What content do buyers read, and for how long? Where do they get bored? What are they sharing and with whom? Sellers can learn a lot about prospects with sales enablement analytics.
- Make a long sales cycle manageable for buying teams. Experiential selling doesn’t overwhelm buyers with a landslide of information right at the start—it builds on knowledge. As engaged buyers progress in their journey, they’ll want to get more details and bring in more stakeholders. Virtual deal rooms—curated spaces you create for each customer—give them a central location to find and share info. It’s a whole lot better than digging through emails.
Make the first move
Creating Engaged Buyers means creating sophisticated selling styles based on relevance and trust—more partnership than selling. The reward will be faster and easier deals.
If that sounds like your cup of green tea, it’s time to get brewing. We’re guessing you have some questions. Our guide, Woo, Don’t Pursue, has lots of answers AND a helpful framework for preparing your organization to woo today’s buyers.
Or, get a demo.