Believe it or not, just one idea can completely transform your business.
It can be easy to forget, but your customers are people. It is advantageous to speak to them as you would to someone you know.
Following an Inbound approach has gained considerable momentum in the past few years. For your customers, that means there is a new expectation that they should be taken care of on a human level, not just as a means to reach your sales targets.
It means having quality conversations that go beyond selling units, services, or products.
It means recognising that the way your customer buys from you no longer fits into a convenient one-size-fits-all buyer journey.
Companies that focus on helping rather than selling are winning the battle for the most empowered generation of customers. In today’s market, reviews and word of mouth referrals are the fuel for growth, with 84% of buyers now starting their buying process with a referral. Poor customer experience is no longer acceptable, and there’s nowhere to hide if your salespeople can’t deliver. Only a small proportion of people trust sales people, and the professions with less credibility include car salespeople and politicians.
Here’s the good news: there’s a distinct competitive advantage for salespeople who treat customers well. Inbound salespeople know their customers intimately, and they try to help them as much as they can. The customer not only trusts these reps, but recommends them to friends and colleagues who need help. By spreading the responsibility for the sale across the organisation, Inbound puts less pressure on salespeople to close at all costs and liberates them to be genuinely effective helpers on the customer’s path to success.
With this approach, your conversations don’t have to be perfect as long as they’re personal and authentic. Inbound organizations successfully use their customer data and a more human approach to gain customers. These ideal customers are typically more loyal and valuable in the long term.
You’re at risk if your customer prefers to spend as much as 70% of their buying process doing their own research and you’re not able to help them along the way. Your customer is expecting you to not only know who and where they are in their journey but also to pick up where their own trail ends every time they stumble or hit an obstacle along the way.
You can do this by tailoring a unique solution to their unique context, based on your expertise and your understanding of who they are and what they need. As sales organisations begin to share the entire view of the buyer’s journey across departments, it becomes easier to intercept your customer at exactly the right moment, when they need you most. When you’re in the right place at the right time, selling becomes a whole lot easier.
Buyer behaviour has shifted radically and expectations have soared so significantly. Here are five ways to shift your sales strategy to adapt to buyer behaviour in 2021.
How to Adapt to Buyer Behaviour
1. Treat each customer like a segment of one.
Every customer feels like they’re special, and everyone wants to be treated like their needs are a top priority. Making assumptions about how a customer should be treated, what they need, or how you can solve their problems can cause serious communication issues down the line. Customers take it personally if you or anyone in your organisation acts like you’ve never met before “Don’t you know who I am?” is not as good as “It’s like you can read my mind! Thank you.”
While engaging with customers, let curiosity be your driving force. Ask them open questions to learn what they need, and make sure they are the focus of the conversation.
2. Provide value as soon as possible.
Cut the time between your first conversation and the first time they see value in the form of a problem solved and your customer will thank you for it. Nobody wants to wait around weighing endless options and choices. You’re nearly 7 times more likely to have meaningful conversations with decision-makers if you attempt to reach a lead within an hour.
Social selling is a way to engage a potential customer early on, benefitting the customer with every step they take towards a purchase from the very first interaction. 65% of salespeople who use social selling fill their pipeline, compared to 47% who do not.
3. Use video to increase engagement.
Ask questions and point the customer in the direction you recommend, but always listen for cues to learn more about their individual needs. Video walkthroughs, visual case studies, screen shares and webinars are all great ways to communicate value before getting down to what your individual customer needs.
70% of B2B buyers watch a video sometime during their buying process. Video is no longer a nice-to-have. According to Google 50% of internet users look for videos related to a product or service before they visit a store. Furthermore, 55% of consumers say they’ll pay more attention to video than to any other medium.
The key to having conversations through video is to make sure that every video is personalised in a way that gies the customer the impression that it was made just for them. Customers and prospects can draw their own conclusions, ask better questions and make sure they understand the solution in their context rather than yours.
4. Anticipate your customer’s needs.
Understand key milestones for your customer and work backwards from the end goal to find moments you can intervene with help. If you know what’s important to your customer along the way, you’re more likely to anticipate what they’ll need at the right time and you’ll be in a position to delight them with proactive assistance.
Listen to your customer and pick up on the cues they provide to understand their communication style. Some people love a good chat about their problems, while some are more analytical and only want the facts. Use customer date to gain insights into what makes your customer tick, so that you can anticipate and deliver on their expectations.
5. Say no to customers who aren’t the right fit.
In the days of using traditional sales funnels, many marketers thought filling the top of the funnel with as many leads as possible was an indication of future success. It was simply a matter of conversions — if an adequate number of those leads made their way through to become a customer you could grow your business.
Using a flywheel, you are responsible for everything. As the informed resource you are responsible for understanding needs, product recommendations, additional services, and customer success.
With this increased responsibility on all sides of the sale, clogging the sales organisation with poorly qualified leads can cause prospects to disappear into the arms of your competitors. Reduce friction in your sales process by making sure each and every customer you speak to fits your ideal customer profile, and once qualified, continue to nurture your prospects so there is a mutual understanding of what success looks like.
Without clear communication and the trust that allows you to say no once in a while, customers can quickly eat up your resources, jam up the Flywheel and cause your growth to stall. Instead, focus on the value you can provide at scale, and do it really well.
Are you certain that your sales process and approach is the right one to deliver the results you want? If not, then perhaps we can help.
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