We have looked at a number of topics recently, including choosing the right channels to reach your audience, the benefits of an outsource option and how to refine your growth strategy in a post-COVID world.
These discussions have been very much from the supplier’s perspective. However, our buyers don’t see the world in terms of our resourcing challenges, our sales process or the channels we invest in. They really don’t think too much about ‘channel choice’ and they certainly don’t need to know or feel the impact of where they sit in our growth strategy.
As B2B sales and marketing professionals, we must not lose sight of what makes for a positive buyer experience and what is important to our prospects as they undertake their purchase journey with us.
So, taking a new lens, let’s break down in the simplest of terms what our buyers actually want:
A seller that is clear and consistent
If they are engaging across multiple channels and touchpoints, the buyer wants a seamless experience and information parity. They’d like to find you on their preferred channels, engage with you easily and obtain accurate and comprehensive information. Irrespective of channel, they need to feel that they are dealing with one company, one brand and a single voice.
If your website copy sparks their interest and they send an information request, whatever they receive needs to be consistent with what they have already read. Similarly, if they follow your brand on social media, or chat with one of your staff (or a bot), this must reinforce the message, rather than confuse or conflict. Mixed signals or contradictory messages create mistrust and uncertainty.
A seller that listens and understands
Now, hopefully, they’ll have been able to gather some comprehensive materials through their online research and have a broad understanding of what products and services you offer. At this stage they need to get into more detail to confirm that you are the right fit. They’ll probably want to connect with a real human with the capacity to understand their needs and the emotional intelligence to appreciate the pain points and challenges they face.
If they don’t trust that you’ve ‘got it’, they won’t feel secure when you start to explain how your solution can help. At this stage, therefore, all you need to do is to listen carefully to understand; don’t start ‘pitching’ before you do. They need to see and feel you actively listening and making a genuine effort to understand their challenges and issues.
A seller that is insightful
Having listened to their needs and built their trust, your buyer now wants you to guide them and extend the confidence they have in you, to the solution that you offer. In simple terms, they need to believe that your solution can meet their specific needs. So, rather than additional layers of information that risk complicating and confusing, they need real insight into the key features and benefits that address their requirements.
This is a critical stage in the relationship where you have the opportunity to build trust and guide them on their path with accurate, reliable insight, or alienate them with a one-sided generic pitch they pays no heed to what they have said so far.
A seller that is reliable and trustworthy
Hopefully, they will now feel confident that your solution is the right fit but this doesn’t necessarily mean they are ready to buy. With increased uncertainty in the world, this may still feel like a leap of faith and they may need more reassurance. They’ll want to know they are dealing with a trustworthy, empathetic brand that will stand by them when times are tough and will be judging that based on all of their interactions with you. For example,
Is what you say on the website consistent with the brochure they receive?
Was the price and terms in the quote issued consistent with what they were told verbally?
Did your representative follow up as agreed, action the tasks assigned to them and provide any outstanding information?
Having claimed deep experience in their sector, were you able to introduce them to other companies in the same line of business?
Simple things but, all of these contribute to the buyer’s view of you as a trustworthy brand they feel comfortable doing business with. Even if your solution is a better fit than that of your competitor, the deciding factor may be overall confidence in the brand.
A seller that cares
Irrespective of where your buyer sits in the food chain, they need to feel valued and cared for. If small businesses feel neglected, limited to interacting with bots or shunted to a list of online FAQs, the value you place on their business will be clear. This is okay until further down the line that individual holds a senior position with a large organisation and they remember the poor experience they had. Of course some customers have more potential value, but your CX design shouldn’t let them know that.
Also, once the contract is signed, your buyer doesn’t want to see your behaviour change, leaving them to fend for themselves as soon as the deal is done. If you want to lay foundations for long term profitability and low rates of churn, this is the very point your buyer needs to feel secure and cared for. A warm welcome and carefully tailored on boarding programme will help them realise the benefits you have described. Get that right and before long they’ll be turning to you as a trusted partner, keen to know how else you can support them.
When you break it down, what buyers want is fairly straightforward but, with fragmented systems, resources and channels, an exceptional, seamless customer experience isn’t always easy to achieve.
Since 1990, we have helped hundreds of clients build customer-centric sales strategies, extending their resources, helping align their teams and providing high-value insight that improves the quality of buyer engagement and increases conversion. If you would like to discuss how we can help you convert your prospects into sustainable, profitable customer relationships, get in touch today.