The shopping landscape has changed. Last year, two-thirds of B2B customers preferred remote human interaction and digital self-service over traditional customer experience – indicating that we are seeing the end of old school sales. Shoppers have more power than ever before, they demand smarter, more flexible and faster shopping routes. The sales cycle has therefore become much more complicated, and many sales teams are lagging behind as a result.
We are entering a new era of collaborative shopping, and it is almost impossible to achieve the same results with the old strategies. Faced with data overload, buyers are stuck for a while. They have no patience for endless marketing materials or scripted sales pitches, and instead need to know that marketers understand their problems, and can offer products that can solve them. Marketing and sales teams must cut the fluff and focus on persuading buyers rather than constantly following them.
Creating a standout buying experience through powerful content
The goal of any good marketing strategy is to attract an audience to a company’s product or service and engage them through high-quality messaging. Marketers must understand their audience well enough to design quality-driven content that responds directly to the unique needs of the modern buyer – someone who aspires for human connectivity but does not have endless time. After all, hired buyers do things that others don’t: they buy.
In today’s complex B2B shopping journey, sales representatives are said to have about 5% of a customer’s time; Marketing needs to ‘warm up’ the sales pipeline, guaranteeing that buyers are as ready as possible to enter into an agreement before first interacting with a sales representative.
80% of today’s prospects will open up a portion of the video content but ignore any other type of content they receive – the mix of modern content should be interactive and engaging, keeping the buyer’s engagement as seamless as possible. Think of explanatory videos, self-assessments, and ROI calculators and other rich experiences that provide real value. Offers of this content should be regularly refined in line with the buyer’s preoccupation insights, to avoid falling into the trap of providing generic content that does not arouse the buyer’s interest. Relevant, curated content allows vendors to focus on key issues for potential prospects, which leads to sales.
Prepare sellers to provide attentive interaction with buyers
Nevertheless, in the modern sales world, silos are regularly cropped up between the sales and marketing departments, with 82% of the professionals in these teams saying they have access to the technology they need, but do not have the right content. Marketers can create an asset of high-quality, compelling content, but without structural distribution pillars to support it, the content will be lost.
The key to driving leads is to train sellers to provide an adaptable, knowledgeable, and focused buyer experience. Smart B2B companies realize that their sales force is their biggest asset, and so they invest in hiring, nurturing, educating, coaching and motivating these teams. The ideal shopping experience doesn’t happen by mistake, it happens when knowledgeable modern sellers engage buyers by providing relevant information and valuable advice at every stage of the journey.
The use of digital technology to create a modern sales and marketing force
When marketing content is strong, and the sales team is as ready as possible, the third element that really helps to develop the customer experience is technology. Today’s advances in sales and marketing technology can help streamline every interaction and create an intuitive experience for both the seller and the buyer so that it is as efficient and effective as possible.
When it comes to the day-to-day work of closing deals, the best technology allows you to easily navigate stack product portfolios that allow sellers to combine product details to guide buyers to discuss with the click of a button. Extending the seller to customer interaction involves implementing experience-based platforms that the buyer can access conveniently. Such platforms allow buyers to use content asynchronously in response to the demands of the time-consuming modern buyer. Offering this curated space for content sharing also has the advantage for sellers, as they can analyze in detail exactly what content their prospects are receiving. Technology should be up-to-date and user-friendly, simplifying rather than disrupting the sales process.
Attract your customers, don’t follow them
There are plenty of companies trying to target buyers in today’s landscape. It’s easy for sales and marketing teams to mix with competition, depending on age-old strategies that they feel comfortable with. Yet these strategies do not speak to the modern buyer, who prefers a quick and easy process driven by interaction. Sales and marketing teams should focus on customer satisfaction, closing contracts and working consistently to get results.
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