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  • Mercer Smith-Looper

Buyer Enablement 101: What it is and how to do it

From the buyer’s perspective, there is nothing better than a product being easy to buy. Unfortunately, it’s not always straightforward and enjoyable to go through the buying process, either for the prospect or the salesperson. Buyer enablement is here to change that.

Your sales reps should already be supremely comfortable with building relationships, which means that they should also already have a good handle on where your prospects run into trouble with the buying process. Those insights are beneficial for paving the way for a better customer experience in the future. In fact, it’s often not about whether you have the content to help customers learn, but about how or where you surface it. After all, 89% of customers report finding helpful information during the sales process, but many also claim that there’s so much content available that they don’t know what is essential.

Create a buyer enablement strategy that makes it easy for potential customers to understand what they should prioritize. Your team knows your buyers best and can have a significant impact by putting those insights from past deals to work.

What is buyer enablement?

You may already be familiar with sales enablement, which is a close relative to the strategy behind buyer enablement. Sales enablement is the process of providing your sales team with the resources and tools that they need to sell better and close more deals. Buyer enablement is the same thing, but for your buyers rather than your sales team.

As a sales team, your reps should already know the types of struggles your champion has to go through internally to close deals. For instance, they may need to convince their boss of your product’s value or make an argument for why it’s worthy of their budget. The steps of procuring a product can be pretty lengthy, especially at an enterprise level. A typical buying cycle includes most if not all of these steps: 

  • Identifying the issue that needs to be solved
  • Creating a list of the requirements for a potential resolution
  • Exploring different options and solutions
  • Selecting the product or solution that meets your needs best
  • Validating that it will work for your needs
  • Getting consensus on your decision from other teams impacted by your choice.

That is a lot of stuff happening behind the scenes for your prospects. With their historical knowledge, your sales team is in the best position to know what types of resources will make that process easier.

How to do buyer enablement well

While it could seem attractive to write more documentation that your customers can find independently, that’s not the best way to enable your buyers to be successful. Here are a few different processes and practices that you can put in place to knock your buyer enablement out of the park.

Coach your buyers

Your prospects come to your sales team because your sales reps are the experts on your product. Use their knowledge to coach your prospects into becoming product experts so that they’ll make more compelling purchasing arguments in internal meetings. For instance, provide them with the slides and information they need to give a persuasive presentation on your product internally. Include any data or metrics that you would have used when presenting to the same type of audience.

Your prospect will appreciate the push in the right direction and be grateful to have a bit of preparation work taken off their plate. By helping your buyer in this way, you help yourself—you have a person on the inside that can sell to their colleagues just like you would.

Map out what they’ll need

You can’t go somewhere if you don’t have a map of how to get there. When creating a buyer enablement strategy, mapping out your customers’ potential pitfalls is an excellent place to start. Consider every step of the process and write it all down, even if it seems small or insignificant. It may be that you can create resources to address multiple issues at once, but you won’t know unless you have them all listed out.

After you’ve created a map, you can then start to determine which types of enablement would be best at the moment. For instance, documentation might be an excellent fit for some situations, whereas coaching and slides may be better for others.

Create educational content

If you already have a robust documentation system, you’re ahead of the game. However, there are many different types of content to consider when thinking about how best to enable your buyers:

  • Content that is specific to different personas within the company.
  • Analysis of the ROI of your product or particular pieces of your product.
  • Documentation around particular solutions and outcomes that are viable with your product.
  • Articles about your community, use cases within it, or compelling case studies.
  • Guides that focus on how to use your product most effectively.
  • Information and guidance on how best to get started with your product after purchase.

While it’s good to make information like this discoverable by your customers, it’s even better if your sales team surfaces it at the most appropriate and valuable times. They know when certain information will be impactful better than your customers know when to search for it.

Train your sales team to help, not just sell

If your product isn’t a good fit for a prospect, your sales team shouldn’t sell it to them. Create a helpfulness culture that encourages your sales team to give prospects the best advice, even if it means not closing a deal. If another product meets their needs more readily, recommend it. You’ll get word-of-mouth marketing when they talk about what an honest and excellent sales experience you provided.

Care about your customers time

If your customers would prefer to self-service and buy on their own, even after going through the sales cycle, you should let them. Don’t force them to wait to buy your product just so that a human can get credit for the sale. Empower them to move as quickly or as slowly as they’d like to, and make sure that your sales team is always running on the customer’s time.

Rather than forcing them through a process of your own making, make it easy for them to get what they want when they want it. You’ll get more sales if you don’t put up barriers to entry.

Stop pitching, start enabling

When you enable your buyers, you make the sales process easier on both sides. Your sales team will have to do less work to convince the rest of the decision-makers of your product’s value. Your buyer will have to do less work to uncover information that will be most helpful for them in their decision-making. With less effort all around, the sales cycles will go more quickly and smoothly, freeing up your team to put even more effort into the deals they are trying to close.

Buying a product should be easy. Implementing buyer enablement processes into your sales cycle is one of the best things that you can do to turn prospects into happy customers.

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