Business has been living in the technological age for a while now. Business keeps changing, and the consumers of your product expect on-demand service and a trusted advisor that not only knows their product or service, but also knows their competitors and the industries they serve. Stated broadly, your clients expect you to be an individual point of contact that is an “all-in-one” solution to their problems.
As the old adage goes, “You can’t get something for nothing.” This is even more relevant when you realize your clients can find the information they need through research rather than relying on your company for answers. The best asset you can bring as a top-performing sales team is to provide accurate information and content that clients value and can use with their own research. If you still think you can twist your customers arm into purchasing your products, stop right now and start asking yourself, “Would I want to be sold that way today?”
Hopefully your answer is “No.” No one wants their arm twisted and no one wants to be pressured into buying before they know they are making a good decision. This is where being a trusted advisor comes in. When you are able to see the industry as a whole and understand how your product stacks up against your competitors, you can finally start positioning your value with your clients in a meaningful way.
Here are 6 tips from current online research that will dramatically help you gain more business and data in a world where businesses and consumers expect value before they even meet you.
1) Map out the journey of your customer
When working with bigger ticket items or longer sales cycles, it is critical that you understand the customer’s journey from beginning to end. This is because it doesn’t take much for your customer to get worried and take their questions and business somewhere else.
Typically, the sales teams will do a personnel assessment during this journey to qualify a buyer into the product or services based on how they fulfill a need or pain for the buyer. Once you have a qualified lead that fits into your product or service, you can then develop a proposal and solution based around their unique circumstances. If all goes well, they go along with your solution and you have a happy customer and hopefully a nice bonus for your efforts.
The reality is, many sales teams lose clients because they do not understand the customer’s journey and end up walking their clients through a portion of it without knowing where they came from or where they are going after they purchase. In order to avoid this, and to create an awesome customer journey, sales teams need to communicate with both their marketing teams and service teams.
2) Emergent properties develop with communication across marketing, sales, and client success channels.
When you understand how your company is bringing in clients through marketing, you can get them hooked better and create more value. The best and simplest way to do this is to create sales enablement tools like case studies, tutorials, and live chat that are engaging and informative. Before sharing this content, make sure it’s based on reliable data from an expert marketing team. This will also create more seamless communication of your value proposition across all channels in your company.
Finally, when you understand what happens after your customer starts implementing your solution, you can make sure they get the most value out of it with the least risk. Many buyers do not go forward with a solution after being pitched because they are afraid they will not be able to implement the solution with success. When sales teams understand how their service departments take care of technical difficulties or issues related to using your product or solution, they can reassure their clients that after they purchase, they have the resources to guide them to get the most out of the product.
3) Personalized offers and discounts create a willingness to share valuable data
No one wants to share something with a stranger when they don’t feel like they are getting something out of it. If you stay in the mindset of treating your buyer like a normal human being rather than somebody who owes you something, you begin to see that personalized offers and discounts change buyer mindsets.
By offering your buyer something, you can gain valuable insights about their opinion of your offer as well as what they think of your product. More than 80% of businesses and consumers are willing to hand over this information, but not without being offered something first. The psychology is simple, “Scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours.”
4) If you want to sell, make it easy to pay. Plain and simple.
In order for your buyers to buy, they need to be able to pay. This is especially important for B2B sales because businesses are forced to make purchases and orders multiple times a day. Make it easy for them by using an e-commerce platform or purchasing system that is automated. This will help save everyone time and money in the long run by creating a stress-free relationship between you and your clients.
5) Are you protecting your clients’ data? Can you prove it?
Data breeches, stolen identity, and the threat of competitors using personal data make data protection a number one priority in the digital age and for buyers. By communicating with your client and giving them solid assurance that their data is protected, you will open them up to giving you more.
Everyone wants help, but not at the expensive of ruining their business after you get started. Make sure all the data you collect from your clients are protected and can only be accessed on a need-to-know basis. This will help you establish trust with the client and give them the peace of mind to continue doing business with you.
6) If you were smart, you would have built the product with the client
Many companies start building a product for a particular need before even doing the proper research on the market they intend to sell it to or finding out whether their potential clients would find it useful in the first place. You should do market research before product development and ask your target group what they think before you even start building.
Crowdfunding sources are a great way to gain this insight because the consumer gets a look usually before the product is even built. You would be surprised at how many people would love to give you feedback on how your product can benefit their needs. So instead of trying to be clever and using your gut, just ask the people you intend to sell to in the first place. You may save yourself a big headache in the long run when you realize no one was really a fan to begin with or you need to redevelop your product to their needs anyway.
To wrap it all up, just trust your common sense as a buyer, not a sales person. First, find out what your clients want before they purchase, be professional when collecting that information, and make it easy for them to pay. Next, make sure your clients know where they are going and that everyone is on the same page in your company across all channels. Lastly, ensure that your company is offering value to the client at every stage from beginning to end to keep them engaged.