Enabling Buyers to Close Deals Faster
Sales and revenue leaders have to adapt to the accelerated rate of change in the current buying behaviors, especially with the sharp spike in virtual selling due to the onset of the pandemic. The way to do so is by focusing on buyer enablement.
Just as sales enablement helps sellers to sell, buyer enablement helps buyers to buy. Buyer enablement happens by providing buyers the advice and practical support that they need to make their purchasing process easier (not only to steer through but also to complete).
The information that buyers are provided with could be anything, for example, sales decks, customer references, case studies, product demos, and security documents.
There are many factors that make the purchasing process lengthy, tedious, and difficult. Multiple stakeholders, an abundance of high-quality information, and buyer groups revisiting decisions multiple times all contribute to a long and complex buying process.
Why buyer enablement is important
According to research by Gartner, when suppliers give their customers information that the customer perceives as helpful, customers are three times more likely to purchase a larger deal with less regret.
It’s clear that buyer enablement is rewarding and that it’s clearly a step in the right direction to better satisfy customers.
This is because buyer enablement accomplishes a few things:
· Customers have more information and so their decision-making process is shortened as they do not need to keep going back-and-forth with the seller
· Customers have the information necessary to anticipate obstacles and overcome them
· The seller will either improve on or develop their reputation for being helpful, thorough, and informative
· Customers are supported to complete their ‘buying jobs’, or tasks that they need to complete in a satisfactory way before they make a purchase. These include:
- problem identification (what they need to accomplish)
- solution exploration (what solutions are available)
- building requirements (what the solution needs to be able to accomplish)
- supplier selection (which supplier can tick off most or all requirements)
- validation (double-checking)
- creating consensus (making sure that all stakeholders and decision-makers are on board)
What buyer enablement needs to be
Whether a business is trying to complete a face-to-face selling job or a virtual selling job, buyer enablement has to be a few things at a minimum.
The information that customers are provided with will only be the right information and accomplish what it needs to if it is:
· Useful for the customer to accomplish their specific buying job
· Relevant to their specific situation
· Easy to understand, navigate, and refer to
However, in order to go above and beyond, content should also be:
· Sharable, so that other stakeholders and decision-makers can be clued in, or the info might be passed on to other prospective customers!
· Aligned to the customers’ specific emotional needs
· Provides the customer with confidence in what is being sold
· Leads back to what makes the seller unique and different
Examples of buyer enablement
Aside from just infographics and other forms of written information, sellers can provide buyers with a(n):
· Advisor – this role involves coaching a customer through their purchase journey. It can be a person or be done (to less success, usually) with a chatbot.
· Calculator – a simple method of analyzing data
· Connector – for stakeholders to not only find but establish common ground
· Benchmark – so that customers have data that is hard to find in order to compare peers
· Simulator – how this solution will work in the customer’s specific situation
· Recommendation – a set of options that is prioritized based on the customer’s inputs
· Diagnostic – a framework that assesses performance or will help customers identify their options
How this can work for seller-free buying experiences
There has been a shift in preference. A significant number of buyers, around 30-40%, prefer their buying experience to be seller-free. Buyer enablement can still happen. However, some things need to be established first.
Buyer interaction design (or BXD) is a huge part of the buyer’s purchasing journey. In virtual selling, BXD focuses on designing buying interactions (both with and without sellers). B2Bs can offer digital channels and technology in their design that enable customers to obtain all the different, relevant types of buyer enablement that they need, but not have to deal with a seller if that is what they prefer.
A big contributor to virtual selling that would help this specific type of buyer would be a hybrid AI model. AI and machine learning are invaluable and incredibly powerful tools in buyer interaction and customer satisfaction. It can accomplish both a seller-free purchase and yet still provide buyer enablement. A two-way hybrid model can even empower both buyers and sellers.
Chatbots can answer frequently asked questions, be programmed to give information related to questions customers ask, and even initiate the buying process (and around the clock as well).
What’s more is, due to the nature of the machine and deep learning, these sorts of tools will only get better and better at what they are programmed to do.
Buyer enablement has to happen in line with sales enablement. It also has to be done with careful thought, research, and buyer insights, because it isn’t something that can be done flippantly with crossed fingers.
The most important part of buyer enablement is a customer-first approach. This will ensure that every step of the process is geared toward the customer’s experience, their comfort and ease, and ultimately helping them. It will also guarantee that any engagement with buyers is not only relevant but meaningful.