Buying behavior has changed through digitalization. However, compared to buying processes, sales processes are changing unbearably slowly.
Let’s go quickly through the change in buying behavior.
In the past, when it wasn’t possible to find enough information through digital channels to solve a customer's problems, it was necessary to have lots of sales people on board. It was hoped that these sales people would help solve the customers’ challenges or speed up the process of reaching goals.
These days, customers use a significant amount of time on independently researching various service providers’ offerings. They search through information in order to find a solution to their problem after which they compare the products and services that could potentially do so. According to research, even 92% of b2b decision makers start the buying process online, usually through Google.
Today, customers do not find it to be enough for service providers to tell customers that they are the best, most reliable and most customer service oriented company. All of these have to be shown in practice already before the customer is in any contact with the sales people.
For these reasons, sales organizations need to be able to utilize this adapted, more intelligent, buying behavior and take advantage of that.
More often than ever before, buyers use the internet to eliminate options independently. They do not want to fill up their calendars with meetings that might not be useful, as the internet gives the opportunity to look into all of the different options. Information is gathered though Google along with social media channels, such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, as well as though the websites of the service providers. Because of all this, the sales person needs to be in all of these channels, waiting for the customers with good and relevant content.
The better and more useful content that you provide your customers with, the larger the likelihood is for sitting down with the customer and creating a relationship with them.
When the customer has advanced in the buying process to the stage where they are ready to make a decision on which service provider to continue solving their need with, it is time for the sales people to take charge.
In traditional sales processes, the sales person sets up a meeting with the customer for the upcoming two-week period. This two-week period before the meeting is typically not utilized and usually the first meeting is used only for finding out what the customer’s needs and current situation are. After this, another meeting is set up with the agenda of going through the options for finding a solution.
"The time between setting up and having the meeting is the best possible time for selling!" -Mika D. Rubanovitsch
Why is it so?
Because this time can be used for mapping out the customer’s current situation, personality type and needs along with coaching them through excellent, targeted content – through automated, digital dialogue. So you accomplish what is normally done during the first meeting already in advance.
The sales person who knows the customer’s current situation, needs, and knows what their personality is like already before the first sales meeting, is in an excellent position when preparing for the upcoming meeting. While the typical sales person is tiring the customer during their meeting with a long list of questions, the modern sales process’ sales person is already planning a solution with the customer.
With the old sales process, decision makers were rarely present at the first sales meeting, as its priority was not yet high enough. On the other hand, with automated pre-meeting dialogue, the modern sales person has been able to expand the participant pool to also include the necessary decision makers.
If you still make cold calls, I warmly recommend for you to download this guide, which gives concrete tips on collecting leads.