But what do customers want from sales?
We asked buyers from a range of industries what would compel them to engage with sales early in the buying journey. We heard the same answers from buyers time and again.
“Sales must deliver better buyer experiences”
Buyers are increasingly frustrated with sales teams that are internally focused and unprepared to have relevant & meaningful conversations. They are much more likely to engage when there is evidence of joined-up thinking across team members and where teams can display the skills and capabilities needed to help them work through the buying process. Trust and credibility is key.
“Sales must add value beyond what can be achieved through self-serving”
All too often sales are unable to add ‘real’ value. Where there is limited knowledge of the buyer’s business or their marketplace, the experience serves only to add to buyer frustration. Providing tailor insights and access to expertise can add significant incremental value - well beyond what’s achievable with self-service alone. Helping buyers to educate stakeholders in this way builds consensus and advances the buying process. It’s a win-win situation.
5 things to do to compel customers to engage sales early in the buying journey
1. Go ‘deep’ with personalised messaging
Go beyond generic prospect messaging that delivers little value and adds to buyer overload. Go deep with tailored stakeholder and buyer messaging that breaks existing mental-models and builds momentum for change. Engage the team in collecting and sharing insights about your prospects, their marketplace and their decision makers. Not only will this leave you better equipped to engage, it builds confidence too. And remember, often the smallest of insights can have the greatest of impact.
2. Sell the value of early sales engagement
Engage with your prospects as a partner. Highlight the valuable role your team can play in helping prospects to identify problems, define opportunities and explore solution options. Be clear and upfront as to how you can help them make well-informed decisions at each stage of the buying journey. Describe how you can help them build requirements and validate vendor capabilities to ensure buyers choose the right future-proofed solution for their business needs.
3. Promote the skills & capabilities of your expert team
Shine a light on the skills and expertise of your people and introduce them early on. Build confidence and trust in your team’s ability to help customers drive creativity and innovation. Help them build their own internal knowledge and expertise to continuously reinvent. Celebrate the importance of customer connection and relationship building from the get-go.
4. Make each customer interaction highly valuable to them
Recognise that today’s customer buying processes are complex, non-linear and often have multiple stakeholders involved in decision making. Orchestrate teams around ‘jobs to be done’ at this (and every) stage of the buying process to optimise the customer experience. Always ensure the right team, with the right skills and capabilities are engaged at the right time.
5. Build buyer consensus to advance the sale
Bring buyer stakeholders together to build a shared understanding of the problem. Create a common ground of understanding and build advocacy for ambitious change. Measure buyer consensus across the buying journey, identify disagreements and help to resolve them. Help them to build a business case for a high quality solution.