How Buyer-led Selling Optimizes the Experience

By Hendrik Isebaert, CEO of Showpad

B2B buyers have shifted the way they buy. In today’s pandemic-induced work environment, many B2B companies now embrace remote-hybrid work models for globally-distributed teams. As such, the old ways of selling in a stuffy boardroom or over dinner with prospects no longer cut it.

In turn, today’s sales teams need to evolve how they sell. Sellers need to meet buyers where they are and deliver insight-led, relevant content that captivates buyers’ interest and drives conversations forward. With this buyer-led approach, sellers place buyers in the center of their experience and ensure that all their needs are met in order to convert them and eventually build long-term loyalty.

This was brought to life in Showpad’s State of Selling Survey, which analyzed a sample of 521 U.S. organizations across the technology, manufacturing and finance industries that had annual revenues ranging from $2M to $1B. The survey revealed why organizations need to consider new methods for selling in today’s modern marketplace to optimize the buyer experience. Companies who utilize digital, collaborative, and insights-driven initiatives in selling will win out in the end.

Embracing Digital-first Selling

According to the survey, 86% of buyers now prefer to be sold to virtually, forgoing traditional face-to-face sales meetings. Interestingly, when it comes to millennial and Gen Z buyers, 92% prefer virtual selling. As traditional ‘sales meetings’ evolve, organizations need to adopt new sales tools that embrace digital-first selling to enhance the buyer experience.

Sellers can entice buyers in more engaging ways – notably through video – to have more productive interactions and stand out from competitors. With personalized video recordings, sellers can utilize asynchronous communication to enhance the buyer experience with immersive screen capture. This allows sellers to respond to any follow-up questions from buyers so they can gain a better understanding of the sales content in a more compelling and informative manner compared to reading long email replies.

Asynchronous communication also allows content to be viewed and accessed at the buyer’s convenience. This is particularly important in B2B sales when pitches need to be reviewed by multiple decision makers within an organization. With asynchronous communication, buyers and sellers are better aligned with one another so there is reduced meeting frequency and buyers get to truly absorb the sales content.

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Value Creation through Collaboration

Organizations need to look to technology to fill an important gap in the sales funnel. According to the survey, buyers said that those in traditional sales roles meet their needs less than half the time (55%) and just 5% of those surveyed state that their sales reps always meet their needs. With more collaborative tools, revenue-facing teams will ensure improved buyer outcomes.

When the sales, marketing and customer success teams are all aligned, they can constantly adapt to the buyer and personalize the customer experience. With access to marketing-approved content, sales reps can mix and match different pages and file types to build tailored and creative go-to content for the buyer. After all, buyers can be overwhelmed by too much content – 24% stated they felt salespeople sent over too much information.

With bespoke content, sales teams can create the perfect pitch to showcase during a virtual sales meeting and share ideal assets with buyers post meeting. With access to platforms like a shared space or microsite, buyers can better collaborate with sellers and get their questions addressed in real-time. This further elevates the buyer experience with hands-on collaboration throughout the entire customer journey.

Insights-driven Sales Tactics

Business buyers have many frustrations with traditional, stereotypical sales tactics. According to the survey, 48% highlighted issues with persistent sellers not taking ‘no’ for an answer even once it’s been made clear they’re not interested. And it doesn’t stop there; 47% of buyers have to deal with persistent calls and messages and 31% are hassled after a presentation.

Today’s buyers have reached their limit, so organizations need to consider modern selling methods that reduce many of the frustrations buyers face. Sellers need a more holistic view of the buyer journey to understand how buyers are engaging with the content provided so they can further tailor their approach. For example, if a buyer has reviewed a slide multiple times in one week, that may prompt a sales rep to follow-up and ask if they have questions on that slide to provide more clarity or additional assets. With this level of insight, sellers can make more informed decisions on when and how to follow up with the buyer in a way that’s less intrusive and more strategic.

B2B buyers now – more than ever – expect their experiences to be more aligned to B2C customer experiences, where: sellers meet them where they are, provide tailored content, and can anticipate their needs. With the right sales tools and platforms at their disposal, sales reps will be able to drive buyer-led experiences that steer buyers through an intriguing customer journey, from initial engagement to closing. Organizations that are able to adopt modern selling practices for B2B sales will edge out the competition and grow revenue – even amid challenging economic conditions.

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