Is your customer buying experience hurting your business?
October 1st, 2021 | 5 min read
The evolution of the customer buying process
The customer buying process has changed dramatically since the birth of the internet. Access to information has transitioned the position of power from the seller to the buyer.
By 2015, Forbes reported that 74% of B2B buyers were conducting more than half of their research online before making an offline purchase. Recent years have seen this trend accelerate dramatically!!
As buyers, we are far more informed about the product / service we want, forcing sellers to adopt a consultative sales approach – having to provide value in their service and really understanding their buyers’ needs.
This had an incredibly positive impact on the relationship between buyer and seller. Companies and salespeople have had to adapt; many are still going through this adjustment.
The COVID pandemic has had a profound impact on how we shop and buy our products and services, with most of us experiencing some level of online or remote purchases. A real element of comparison is emerging: the customer buying experience.
There is a huge increase in consumer expectations expecting a more sophisticated and personalized sales experience.
The buying experience is an integral part of the product and service.
80% of customers say
the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services. – Salesforce
The buying experience used to be, in many cases, a “painful” process that was necessary in order to obtain the services and products you required.
77% of B2B buyers state
that their latest purchase was very complex or difficult. – Gatner
In many industries, the seller’s expertise will continue to offer huge value in helping the customer find the best solution to their requirements.
Customers now expect speed, authenticity, relevancy and moreover, a digital buying experience, that is enjoyable.
The speed in this transition of power is impressive and impactful.
The companies that get this right are getting noticed easily.
Online / Offline / Online / Offline / Online / Offline …
In many industries, the best buying experience requires a careful balance between human and digital intervention.
There is a constant back and forth between online and offline in the process.
While the expertise to match the best solution for a client’s requirements and budget is often mastered by a salesperson, it now requires many digital components.
Digital content in the sales process is almost mandatory to help deliver clarity and relevance in the seller’s communication.
The brain processes visuals 60,000X faster than any text -3M Corporation
Think about how 3D tours or videos of meeting spaces are providing such a more powerful experience.
Many businesses have invested heavily in their digital content, but sharing it with their teams is often a bigger challenge, meaning sellers never get to actually use it!!!
70% of marketing content is never used by sales teams -Sirius decision
Finding the right content is harder than it used to be as well. There is more produced, it’s in multiple formats (Webpages, brochures, videos, images, etc.) and often needs to be customised.
31% of reps’ time is spent searching for or creating content -Docurated’s – State of Sales Productivity Report
It needs to be communicated the proper way, with the right channel.
Templates for emails, landing pages and documents support sales teams responding with speed (Creating a proposal takes 22x less time when using a template – insidesales.com), but they need to keep the right level of personalisation, authenticity, and flexibility.
Furthermore, the delivery of the message and content, whatever the channel, needs to be easily consumable, mobile responsive (forget about the PDFs!), en pointe and on-brand. For example, a simple email response needs to deliver an experience – you will be judged on it.
Gone are the days where the consumer will be satisfied to receive a basic blanket email with a bunch of generic attachments.
66% of business decision-makers said vendors provide them with too much content to sort through, 57% said much of the material is useless […] -Forrester
76% of B2B buyers prefer to receive content unique to their buying stage -Marketbridge
In terms of processes, the basic digital advancement such as e-signature and online payment options are now getting used at the right place to create a frictionless sales process. Your sales teams and clients have been asking for these for a long time.
All these components and many more are now part of the customer buying experience, it is what customers are expecting, and this is now a major factor influencing companies’ revenue.
Elevating your customer buying experience
Many organisations already have a number of these components in place, the difficulty is to create a real symphony to align these with your sales and communications process as well as with your customer expectations.
Mastering the art of sales communication in this digital environment demands the right technology to support this – especially if you are interested in making it consistent across your organisation.
Several companies have understood how to use the right technology to their advantage.
If you have not adapted your sales process for your salespeople to navigate through this digital world with ease, you need to take action now!
The UpMail Solution
UpMail is a cloud-based sales enablement platform for content-driven sales teams to digitalise and structure their sales communications for an optimal customer buying experience.
What has fundamentally changed in Group Sales? What are the implications for Marketing and Sales strategies for hotels and how to leverage technology best? – That’s discussed in this COLLECTIVE #MICEBEAT session, which was streamed live on Linkedin and Youtube on 7th December 2021.
More than ever customers are making their buying decisions online. Make sure you are providing the best customer journey.
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