There’s a disconnect between sellers and buyers: Around 65% of sellers in the US and Canada say they put the buyer first, yet only 23% of buyers agree.
And this relationship will only become more complex as companies feel the economic pinch and are more conservative with spending amidst news predicting doom and gloom. As potential clients become more resistant to buying, it is time for sellers to update their virtual selling approaches.
Traditional B2B sales models suggest that sales teams with the right coaching and materials will magically know how to adjust offerings to buyers and sell (otherwise known as a one-size-fits-all approach). But that’s only one side of the coin. Sales reps across many verticals — such as computer software technology and cybersecurity to edtech and even luxury home realtors — must now provide a way to boost virtual customer engagement during the buying process.
So, how can sales reps overcome selling pain points, learn which deals to prioritize, and save potential at-risk deals? Sales enablement tools and platforms provide holistic insight into seller and buyer data, replicating what Amazon did for consumer purchases — but for B2B commerce.
Making the B2C Buyer-Centric Experience a B2B Reality
As someone who has helped dozens of teams deliver a better buying experience and accelerate sales deals, I’d like to stress that today’s B2B sales processes are a mess: Either they are disorganized, with content saved all over ineffective customer learning channels, or companies opt for heavy advertisement.
Seller engagements are too often shallow pitches with oversimplified recommendations that can mislead buyers. This scares them off instead of educating or supporting them, leading to buyer remorse and lost business for sellers. Customers want to feel like they are actively searching for the services, not being sold something they don’t need.
Therefore, the virtual sales space must be personalized to streamline buyer-seller transactions and encourage economic growth on both ends of the exchange. New approaches and platforms can combine digital and human aspects to help buyers carry out due diligence, access self-reflective learning paths, and feel more confident in their decisions.
And according to a Gartner study from 2022, 83% of B2B buyers are already requesting this: They said they prefer ordering or paying through digital commerce. So, it is time for small and medium-sized enterprises and high-growth organizations to make sales processes easier for buyers.
With a buyer-focused platform, buyers can access all the necessary information about executives, competitors, case studies, and product benefits in one spot via a single dashboard. There, sellers can sport banners, logos, fonts, and layouts to look professional while cultivating rich media content tailored to buyers’ needs.
Taking the Chaos out of the Email With a Single Source of Truth
Did you know sales professionals spend less than one-third of their job actually selling? They spend the majority of their time on administrative and other non-selling duties. But while they waste all this energy and send many emails, sales reps still have limited visibility in to how the buyer interacts with the content beyond email opens and clicks.
If a sales rep sends an email with a ton of attachments, they hope the prospect will respond. But they are left thinking: Who did the buyer forward the email to? What did they like about the proposal? Did they open all the attachments? What other information do they need?
Now, instead of starting any sales conversation with those questions, imagine if sales reps could have insights into sales performance and buyer behaviors simultaneously within one digital sales platform. Sellers could receive real-time notifications and insights about what files buyers open up, how long they spend on each file, and if they shared content with other people at their company.
With this extra layer of transparency and data-driven insights for sellers, at-risk deals are easier to locate, and sales teams can ask more specific questions like:
- ‘We noticed you spent a lot of time reviewing one case study. Why?’
- ‘We saw you forwarded our Product Ebook to your CEO. We have an explanation sheet about how to break this concept down into simple terms for the C-suite. I’ll add that document to the platform for you.’
In a way, each prospect would have access to their own personal shopper who takes on an advisory role rather than upselling. And surprise, surprise, engagement is three times better than via email.
It also means that when sellers have follow-up conversations with buyers, they have the upper hand, as they already know what questions buyers need the answers to.
Insight Into Buyer Behavior: Knowing When a Deal Is at Risk
With direct visibility into buyer behavior and content effectiveness, including complete details on which content is viewed and how much time is spent on each page, you remove the guesswork about the efficacy of sales enablement strategies. Companies will know what resonates with buyers and where disconnects and broken links are.
Buyer engagement data is making salespeople far more intelligent. Sellers can prioritize deals that are likely to close and see what deals are starting to fall behind — all way ahead of time.
There are several scenarios where a single dashboard, allowing sales leaders to see all active deals and stay on track of milestones and due dates, comes in handy:
- Imagine if a buyer is very engaged and has a meeting scheduled but then goes cold. The dashboard could show that client in red, signifying that the buyer-seller transaction was on track but is now behind schedule. This allows sellers to proactively identify at-risk deals.
- If a buyer isn’t very engaged but suddenly opens many files and sends the dashboard to a new contact, that may be the time to reengage and contact another executive crucial in the buying decision. For example, we once worked with an edtech customer pitching to a district on their K-12 solutions. Their salesperson closed a six-figure deal because the original contact shared the deal room with another colleague, triggering a pivot in messaging. If this had happened via email, the sales rep may never have been connected to the true decision maker.
- A deal could quickly become risky if sellers are not tuned in to the buyer journey stages. A mutual action plan enables the seller to align with the prospect on key milestones to progress through the purchase journey. Sellers now know how the deal is progressing and potential blockers based on completed and overdue tasks.
Ultimately, buyer engagement data for B2B transactions means sellers can deliver more customer-centric experiences for buyers, save at-risk deals, and reduce stressful admin tasks.