Want to Close More Deals? Don’t Just Deliver What Buyers Need, Deliver What They Expect – Here’s How.
Engaging the right buyers with the right content at the right time is one of the biggest challenges in B2B sales. According to Salesforce, 76% of sales reps say that having the skill to engage a prospect at just the right time has a significant impact on the chance of a conversion. This is because buyer expectations and the role of sales reps is changing. Last year’s abrupt shift to virtual along with the expansion of personalized experiences in their personal life, like Amazon or Netflix, have caused buyers to expect sellers to be familiar with them and know when the right time to step in is. As Lori Wizdo of Forrester puts it, “It’s no longer about attracting and persuading, it’s really about engaging buyers and helping them through their journey.”
Except there’s one problem with buyers’ new expectations: Sales reps aren’t mind readers. Guesswork is not only an ineffective way for a rep to spend their time, but it can also damage the relationship with a buyer (think about what you would do if Netflix repeatedly suggested a movie genre you didn’t like.) In fact, LinkedIn’s State of Sales report names lack of knowledge of a buyer’s needs a “deal killer”. The same goes for negative touches that lack any real insight. In order to appeal to buyers, provide them with a better experience and ultimately win more deals, reps need to better understand who they’re selling to.
You can’t get more opportunities if you don’t know your buyers
Let’s shift gears for a second and think about birthday presents. If you know who your gift recipient is, along with some of their favorite things, and even items they may already own, you’re in a good position to get them a thoughtful gift. Now, compare this to a situation in which you had to get a birthday present for someone you’ve never met and knew nothing about. You can see how it’s much easier to please someone, and cater to their needs and interests, when you know a bit about them. The same applies in B2B sales. Even “cold” calling doesn’t have to be cold anymore. If you arm yourself with knowledge about who you’re reaching out to – and when the right time to strike is – you’ll get rejected a lot less, be more successful in your efforts and waste less time.
3 things reps should focus on to move deals forward
While it’s nearly impossible to learn everything there is to know about a prospect before you speak with them, there are breadcrumbs and key insights available that can help you identify buyer expectations, pain points and goals. Here’s what to focus on to move your deals forward:
#1 – Deliver relevant content based on where they are in the buying journey. If you have your sights set on a prospect who is consistently active on social media, they may regularly engage with or share insightful content with their network or followers. You’ll want to pay attention to this kind of social activity along with the type of content being shared, as it may indicate where this person is in their buying journey. Another way you can uncover this information is through intent data. Intent helps you identify not only who on the buying team is actively researching, but the type of content they’ve been engaging with, as well. This provides the insights needed to shape your messaging so it resonates better with your audience.
#2 – Find out who else is on their buying team based on intent data. B2B purchases are a big deal so buyers rarely act alone. According to Gartner, the typical buying group for a complex B2B solution involves 6 to 10 decision makers. Therefore, it’s not only helpful to have insights on hand about the prospect you’re after, but also the rest of the buying team that you’ll need to influence to make a deal happen. Intent data allows you to uncover buying teams and the real people on them so you’re able to map out a plan that includes all stakeholders.
#3 – Understand interests and preferred communication style uncovered through social selling. Don’t overlook the plethora of information available on social networks. A few helpful things you could learn about a prospect here are:
- Hobbies, communities or clubs they’re a part of – This can help develop or build the relationship on a more personal level.
- Notable influencers, thought leaders or people they follow – This can help you gain a sense of who and what they are drawn to professionally.
- Communication style – Understanding things like whether posts are more serious or lighthearted, for example, can help you speak to them how they wish to be spoken to.
Any insights you can uncover from the above areas can help you determine a general idea of what buyer expectations are and how they prefer to communicate. It also arms you with knowledge you can use to prepare for and add value to future touches.
In an era of shifting buying preferences, social selling and real purchase intent data can help sales reps go from “How’s my timing?” to “I noticed you were interested in ABC, I thought you might also like XYZ.” Such insights can help reps win more deals by personalizing outreach to deliver experiences buyers expect at this point.