In the B2B sales world, there’s endless talk about sales experiences. Webinars go on and on about creating sales experiences. Countless ebooks and whitepapers offer 11, 18 or 201 steps towards “shaping the sales experience your customers want!”
Yet sales experiences are exactly what your customers do not want anymore.
So what do they want?
It Starts with Amazon
We’ve talked about the Amazonification of B2B sales before. Basically, it has to do with expectations. You shop on Amazon. Your kids shop on Amazon. Your parents probably shop on Amazon. Guess who else shops on Amazon? Your customer. Not for the wares you peddle, but as regular ol’ consumers. One of the reasons why we all shop on Amazon is the experience. They have mastered the customer buying experience. Notice I didn’t say sales experience. (To be clear, Amazon absolutely has a sales strategy. Why else would that ad for organic laundry detergent follow you around the web?) But knowing their customer has allowed Amazon to create custom, personalized buying experiences. And that flat out works.
As it turns out, your customer has learned to expect the same thing in their workaday world. They expect the experience of signing a deal with you to feel Amazony. Yes, Amazony.
So What’s in a Buying Experience?
Again, let’s look at the expectations Amazon has set. Today’s B2B buyer wants all the information at their fingertips, for when they need it. They have their own way, their own processes and their own timelines. They prefer to consume information digitally, just as they would scan product reviews and specs on Amazon. They want expertise to be available, not incessant. They want to be in control. They want to buy, not be sold to.
What’s a Sales Team to Do?
In order to meet the Amazonified expectations of your customer, there are a few things you can do.
- Simply make it easier to buy. There’s a concept popular amongst behavioral psychologists that says there are reasons to do a thing (promoting pressures) and reasons not to do a thing (inhibiting pressures). Removing just one inhibiting pressure often does way more than applying more/multiple promoting pressures. The challenge, however, is identifying the inhibiting pressures that your customers struggle to get past. Alas, this blog post can’t do that for you.
- Trust your customer. Sales reps and account teams shudder at the thought of letting the customer “buy how they buy,” but they’ve got to do it. They’ve got to understand that the customer requires this. Does that mean lay off until they call back? Of course not. But it does mean rethinking your engagement strategy. Strive to provide value, ideas, insights and collaboration over the “just checking in…” email.
- Know what they need before they know they need it. This may sound difficult, but if you’re able to gauge your customer’s digital body language, let’s call it, you’ll know what to do next to keep their buying journey rolling. Did they watch and share the product overview video? You know to follow up with a list of frequently asked questions.
- Get the right tech. We’re not saying to fully abandon the likes of the phone, email and PowerPoint, but there are options out there that make it easier to migrate from delivering sales experiences to designing buying experiences.
The way your customer buys has fundamentally changed. It’s time you align with their expectations.