It's hard to believe there was a time when products were sold exclusively by salespeople, and at trade show exhibits. They were the go-to experts that educated their prospects long before a customer was ever closed.
Then, online access to product comparisons, functionality, and even Amazon began delivering access to medical supply products. Consumer research, decision making, and buying habits have changed. Social selling has gained the attention of sales professionals and companies seeking to succeed in the new normal of a buyer's journey.
The estimates are staggering, predicting an estimated 2.67 billion social users globally by 2018. While Nielsen reported that with 85% of prospects researching from trusted third party resources online, and credible content driving the buying decision, it makes sense to be where your prospects are doing their research.
Why this huge shift in consumer behavior? We’re busy, very busy! We have immediate access through smartphones and mobile devices to research our problem and finding viable solutions. Solution selling is the answer to building and growing your business.
Understanding the reality that "By 2020, 80% of the buying process is expected to occur without any direct human-to-human interaction", your sales process needs to be keenly and strategically connected to your buyer’s journey.
Sales process should start with understanding your buyer.
- What is the first step in their journey?
- I think I have a problem.
- I need to identify what my problem is.
- How do I solve this problem?
- Who should I contact to help me solve this problem?
- Why should I work with this company/organization?
- Why should I do this now?
- Under each above heading, list out questions your buyer/customer may have
- Those questions are now the basis for developing content that will help your buyer’s journey to becoming a customer.
- Develop content into blogs, resources, and publish on your website.
- Share on social media. B to B companies, social is important for your business!
- Share with your sales teams. These are their selling tools.
- Close sales with customers that have been educated by your content.
- Continue to develop content to keep your new and existing customers engaged. Email them!
- Rinse and repeat.
Your buyer’s journey should dictate your sales process. If you pay close attention to what keeps them up at night, and follow a process to provide answers and solutions, you’ll shorten that selling cycle and ultimately, have a customer for a long time. We all buy from trusted resources, think of your own behaviors in your journey and translate them to your buyer.
Enjoy the new found connection with your buyer!