The Empowered Buyer

The Sales Funnel from the Buyer’s Perspective

funnel

Have you experienced a paradigm shift in your sales process?

We know that most purchases are thoroughly researched by buyers before they ever speak to your sales person. And while this was original true of B2B enterprise sales, I’d argue that nearly all sales are impacted; including those at retail and e-commerce. Consumers rely on what they learn online, even for consumable products. Purchase experiences, such as those on Amazon.com, have driven the incessant need for product knowledge.

A Hubspot email marketing video noted how the old “buyer beware” idiom has accurately transformed to “seller beware.” The root of this role reversal is the ever-increasing amount of data to which your prospective buyers have access.

How does the empowered buyer impact lead generation efforts and the role of sales hunters?

Let’s take a look at the traditional sales funnel, but from the buyer’s perspective, in order to determine the transformations needed in your marketing and sales processes.

Research

When a prospect becomes aware of a need they have to fill, they’ll begin to research solutions. As you come across these potential leads, it’s important not to infringe on their information-gathering with a heavy sales pitch, or you risk losing the sale. Rely on compelling inbound marketing messaging and high-ranking SEO results to attract shoppers. If you’re not sharing current and dynamic information, revisit your content management strategy. And if you’re not actively monitoring web and search traffic, it’s catch up time.

What actions can you take?

Buyers’ search-and-discover process provides the opportunity to identify your high-value market and develop a clear understanding of your buyer personas. Gather information on the people and companies that visit your website. Create and publish information that is directly focused on their needs.

Interview

When the time comes to speak with your potential buyer, be prepared. Not unlike a job interview, the buyer expects you to answer their questions in order to prove why your solution is best. Your sales team should be equipped with answers, not questions. By this time, you must have a full understanding of their business model, and you must be ready to explain why your solution will best fit their needs.

How can you prepare?

If your website and social profiles are effective, your audience is captivated and you’re ahead of the competition. This will allow you to focus your prep work on knowing all you can about them. They already know what your product does.

Decision

Once you’ve made your case, keep in touch. Nurture your contact with the right information at the right time and at the right intervals. You understand that the complexity of your solution impacts the decision-making lifecycle. Don’t fade away. Don’t give up. Your perseverance will pay off.

When should you reach out?

That depends on what you have to say. This is when segmentation is most critical. If your company is delivering marketing communications, don’t add your leads to the distribution list just for the sake of a touch. If your message isn’t on point, you run the risk of appearing out of touch and indifferent.

Engagement

They picked you! The deal may have closed, but the work is ongoing. You’ve acquired a new customer, which means a new voice for your brand. From implementation through support and beyond, every communication should be made with the intent to create raving fans.

Have you experienced buyer-driven sales? How have you adapted for the changes?

JeanMarie

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