It should be no surprise that we live in a very different world, one awash in information. Buyers no longer must wait for sellers to provide them with product details, pricing, and case studies. Today’s research has repeatedly shown that buyers get 50% or further through their Buying Journey before even talking to a salesperson. This is partially based on the unfortunate, but understandable, perception that salespeople add little value outside of pushing for an order. In fact, this is why some customers avoid salespeople altogether.
So, how are companies responding to this lack of connection? Well, just look at your inbox and mobile phone! If yours is anything like mine, you may also be thinking of the immortal words of Mick Jagger, “Everyone’s tellin’ me more and more about some useless information, to fire my imagination… telling me how white my shirts can be.” The net result is that buyers are becoming even more disconnected from sellers than ever before.
The only way in which to engage with a buyer, whether through marketing collateral or sales conversations, is by delivering something the buyer perceives is valuable, relevant, and not easily gained in other ways. Note that is an “and,” not an “or;” you must meet all three conditions to engage with a buyer. Bring them something they see as valuable, that is relevant to their current situation, and that they won’t believe could be easily accomplished with an alternative or substitute.
The only way to meet those three conditions is to truly understand their world, or in other words, their end-to-end Buying Journey – what matters to them, what they are concerned about, what they value, and what they are trying to achieve at each step of that journey. The good news is that our studies clearly demonstrate that customers acquiring a specific offering within a particular market behave in remarkably similar ways. Perhaps unsurprisingly, if buyers act differently from one another, then for all intents and purposes, they belong in different markets entirely.
Once the buyer’s world and their Buying Journey is understood, we can then design our marketing content and sales conversations to not simply bombard buyers with more useless information, but rather strive to bring wholly unique value and relevancy.
Here is a quick list of seven possible ways to engage and connect sellers to buyers. Each one of the seven can refer to either marketing collateral or sales conversations:
1. Diagnostic: help the buyer diagnose or determine what their real needs are.
2. Innovation: bring an innovative idea to the table, something they were unlikely to think of on their own.
3. Configuration: help the buyer configure, design, or develop what they need.
4. The Success Path: provide them with the path to success, showing how they will succeed with whatever they are trying to do.
5. Connect: connect with, or show, them what others like them have done.
6. Clear Obstacles: provide them with the way in which to clear, or mitigate, the obstacles they may be faced with in their overall Buying Journey.
7. The Broker of Information: based on the knowledge of what is important to them, synthesize what may be an overwhelming amount of information so that they have a highly relevant picture, tailored to their needs.
While this checklist will hopefully help you discover new methods to deliver one-of-a-kind value and relevancy to your prospects and customers, to be successful in any of these strategies, you must start with a deep understanding of your buyer. Failing to gain that level of insight will simply make you another man on the radio, giving your buyers no satisfaction.