Mercer Smith-Looper • Apr 15, 2021
7 Buyer Enablement Strategies for your B2B Sales Team
As much as buyer enablement is about making it easy for your customers to buy, it's also about creating a more empowered and knowledgeable sales experience. Consider your customer's perspective as you start building your strategy: what they’re looking for, why they care about it, the best time for them to learn. From there, you can start considering how your overall sales strategy needs to change.
Customers spend 45% of their time researching solutions and 22% of their time meeting with the other decision-makers. That means that they only engage with your sales team 17% of the time. Your team can use buyer enablement strategies to ensure that customer time spent away from your team is as fruitful as possible.
Instead of focusing on making things easier for your sellers, try to make things easier for your buyers. With so little time spent connecting with your team, you must provide value in the moments that you do have. Buyer enablement makes it as easy and comfortable as possible for your prospects to get the information they need and ultimately purchase.
What is buyer enablement?
Buyer enablement is the process by which businesses give prospects information they need to make a purchasing decision. Buyer enablement helps potential customers understand the full impact that a product could have on their business. The goal is to ensure that buying is as simple as possible for your buyers, which may include revamping your sales strategy or sales engagement processes to make sure that you’re educating customers along the way.
Occasionally, creating resources for the buyer enablement processes may fall to your sales enablement team or wider marketing team. Other times, depending on your team size, it may be the responsibility of the individual sales representatives. Either way, though, implementing a buyer enablement strategy will require extra effort outside your traditional sales planning. Especially if you’re looking at introducing a sales methodology, like BANT or Gap Selling, this will add complexity, documentation needs, and ultimately more supporting materials to help reps follow a more structured selling process.
Here are a few strategies you can use to build buyer enablement into your sales process:
1. Define your buyer personas
Without understanding who your prominent buying personalities are, you won’t know their most present problems or how they want to solve them. Before moving any further into a buyer enablement strategy, work with your marketing and product teams to understand who your buyer personas are.
As you move forward, do so with your personas in mind. If you create a plan that addresses the wrong types of people or problems, it will not make the meaningful impact you’re hopeful for. You should build all of your content and methodologies with real issues and people in mind.
2. Make a customer journey map
Another essential step is understanding the customer journey. Understand where your customers are coming from and where they are hoping to go. Work with each of your customer-facing teams to document when the customer comes in contact with your brand. That means listing all of the blog visits, emails into support, and in-product interactions on a timeline where you can view them comprehensively.
When you know theoretically what your customers are doing and where they are doing it, you can proactively reach out with helpful information. A proactive reach out could look like an in-context chat bubble on your pricing page, email marketing triggers that automate when someone takes action in your product, or even a helpful introduction to your sales team when they reach out to support. Take the work off your customer’s plate and do things before they have to.
3. Set clear expectations
Give your customer what they need the first time, rather than extending the conversation to align with a set sales cycle. Of all decision-making groups surveyed in a Gartner study, 95% reported that they have to reanalyze all of their decisions once per sales cycle when the sales team shares new information about the product. But they should have had the pertinent information from the start!
Reframe your perspective. Even if the information isn’t favorable or doesn’t meet what the customer is asking for, share it from the beginning to give the buyer perspective. Nothing will lose trust and create ill-will faster than realizing that they weren’t given clear expectations at the start of the sales process. Honesty exceeds buyer expectations every time—especially when they’ve come to expect reassessing their decisions part way through the cycle.
4. Make things easy
How many times have you tried to sign up for a demo just to have to fill out a form and wait for a salesperson to reach out to you? Don’t do that to your potential buyers. If they want to buy or move through the cycle faster than your typical prospect, don’t slow them down.
Create demos that are pre-recorded and easily accessible to your customers. If they watch it and want to do an in-person demo, you can move them forward. If they watch it and end up just wanting to buy, that’s a fair path as well. Let your buyer dictate what they want and need, rather than your sales team trying to shoehorn them into a process.
All of your content should be readily available whenever your customer needs it. Create articles and documentation that make sense as a standalone resource, and consider creating a repository of videos that your customers can watch on-demand.
5. Have multiple ways to contact your team
What is most important to B2B buyers is feeling like they are constantly moving forward in the cycle. You don’t want to be the thing that is stopping that ball from rolling, do you? While many teams find it easiest to work via email, your customers may not always want to be in an inbox. There are times where it may be more accessible to text, call or even tweet at your team instead of firing off an email. After all, some customers may be more comfortable discussing details of their needs over the phone or directly in person.
Create chat, email, phone, and social lines where your customers can contact you quickly. Take one extra hurdle out of the sales cycle.
6. Educate rather than sell
Position your salespeople as educators rather than sellers. Throughout the cycle, it’s their job to provide your customers with experiences and information that make it easier for them to make their decision. You may be thinking that if you go forth intending to educate rather than sell, you may make fewer sales. That could be true, but while you may not make every sale, you’ll get tons of word-of-mouth marketing from impressed and informed customers. Your customers are savvy and will know when you’ve been honest and educational or intentionally obtuse while trying to make a sale.
Similarly, if you do end up making the sale, taking the time to educate and build that relationship early on will pay dividends. Customers are three times more likely to buy a bigger deal when the sales team has spent time educating them on which features will provide the most value.
7. Give them an easy way to define and show value
While half of the buyer’s job is learning about your product and how it works, the other half is convincing the rest of the team that it has value. A big part of creating a buyer enablement strategy is empowering your buyers to convey the value of your product to others internally.
Listen to your customers and help them define metrics for the value that will be meaningful for other internal teams. Beyond that, coach them on the best ways to talk about that value or the product as a whole. Some sales teams even provide pitch decks for customers to use during internal meetings around procurement.
Your sales teams are experts at your product and have tons of persona knowledge at their fingertips. Let your potential buyers reap the benefits of that knowledge and use it to make a case for your product within the decision-making team.
Empower your customers
As much as buyer enablement is about making it easy for your customers to buy, it’s also about creating a more empowered and knowledgeable sales experience. Consider your customer’s perspective as you start building your strategy: what they’re looking for, why they care about it, and when the best time for them to learn is. Once you have that nailed down, you can start considering how your overall sales strategy needs to change.
Treat your customers like you would want to treat a loved one as they’re going through the sales cycle. Be honest with them, and make sure that they feel supported every step of the way. The buying process should be easy—why create additional hurdles for customers to jump before closing the deal? Give them multiple options for reaching out to you so that they can do so in a way that feels good for them. Educate them on the product and the benefits of using it, rather than selling them on individual features. As you move forward and empower your customers to make informed decisions, your sales process will benefit, and your overall customer loyalty will thrive.
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