On October 28th, Market-Partners Inc. Principal and Founder, Martyn Lewis, hosted a virtual micro-workshop focused on developing more precise and effective market messaging, as well as enabling sales to connect with, and maintain more valued and trusted relationships, with buyers.
This free micro-workshop followed our 30-30 format. The first 30 minutes were an interactive presentation of the content summarized below. Afterwards, those wishing to explore the topic deeper were invited to stay an additional 30 minutes dedicated entirely to questions and discussion.
The first 30 minutes have been summarized below, covering the growing divide between sellers and buyers, how it happened, and what sales and marketing can do about it.
You can also watch the video replay here.
Our goal as sales and marketing teams has always been to change the course of events, to get someone to buy when they otherwise may not have. Most of us would likely agree that the only way to influence these decisions is by providing creative, valuable, and meaningful solutions, and that such strategies should begin with an intimate knowledge and close relationship with your customer.
However, this knowledge and relationship has been disrupted, as sellers become increasingly disconnected from buyers. So, what exactly is happening and how do we fix it?
The Growing Gap
There have been two major drivers that have resulted in this divide. First, buyers believe they can get information more easily and conveniently from the Internet than your typical salesperson. This aversion to speaking with reps comes from the belief that salespeople do not add value to their immediate situation, choosing to only interact with them when they absolutely have to.
Second, buying has become more complicated. There rarely is a single decision maker; there is a greater aversion to change; there are more alternatives available; and resources are often fully deployed. Additionally, decision making is more comprehensive to stakeholders, and more employees are involved in the process. With this comes differing perspectives, resulting in far more conflicting priorities and agendas.
All of these complexities have spawned Buying Journeys that look more like the one below versus what you may have seen before.
Look back over the 19 buying activities surrounding the Buying Journey above – how many of these activities are sellers typically involved in?
If you’re familiar with our research, you know the correct answer is less than 10% – but the most important statistic is that 100% of these buying activities impact when and if a buyer will buy. Unfortunately, a majority of sales teams are still trying to convince themselves that this doesn’t matter. Many are holding out hope that with the right script, the right sales process, or by speaking to the right person, they can somehow shortcut this process and speed up the sales cycle.
The Formula for Success
The only way forward is to reconnect sellers to buyers by bringing value and relevancy across the Buying Journey. What they rarely need is additional product information. Your customers may be buying what you’re selling for the first time – but this is likely not your first time watching a buyer buy. As an expert in how to acquire your offering, you already know the challenges and issues that come up along the way, allowing you to help your buyers buy.
Leveraging that knowledge, here is a five-point strategy you can use for reconnecting sellers to buyers.
1. Decode the End-to-End Customer Buying Journey
Our research has shown time and time again that buyers within a particular market buy in remarkably similar way. The same roles get involved with the same agendas, motivations and concerns. They consider the same alternatives, face the same pressures and use the same decision-making approach.
These patterns should allow you to better understand the activities that will happen along the way. This goes beyond purchasing and what you might “see” yourself. Consider the entire process from your customer’s perspective, including aligning all the players, change management and value realization.
2. Optimize the Buying Journey
Once the Buying Journey has been mapped, look at where you can optimize it. Not create optimistic shortcuts, but rather what you can do to help the buyer buy, such as gain earlier stakeholder alignment or bringing barriers forward.
3. Determine How you Can Help
While you might not be able to aid in every buying activity, figure out where you can bring value and relevancy. Examples include implementation planning, strategies for handling push back and competing agendas, developing user training, providing change management approaches, and better integration into existing systems, processes, or workflows.
4. Adopt Precision Marketing
With the Buying Journey map in hand, your marketing team can then align messaging and content to a prospect’s individual role and step in their journey. A switch must be made from why the offering should be bought to how to acquire it, aiming content more at the friction along the journey than traditional value propositions.
5. Enable Sales
To be effective, sales teams need to know how to identify where the buyer is in the Buying Journey, what the buyer is likely doing, what they are concerned with, and how to be relevant and add value. Like marketing, sales should also have access to customizable content and tools that offer the key buying roles insight and value at the various stages of the Buying Journey.