Buyers want a better buyer experience. We know this because of findings in the new Showpad report, The New B2B Buyer Experience, that shows buyers are taking longer to make purchasing decisions, are relying on more people within their company to help make those decisions, and are researching more before contacting a sales rep than they did 12 months earlier.
However, Showpad data shows that, despite those trends, buyers have not forsaken the human touch when it comes to the buyer experience. They still turn to reps as authorities on their business and industry, and they want reps to show them how to create ROI and other best practices. To strengthen this relationship requires transforming the traditional role of the sales rep into one that reflects a partnership with the buyer. Here are four ways to make that happen today:
Position your sales rep as a trusted advisor.
Our survey results confirm that buyers respond positively to reps who can serve as a partner with them opposed to someone who is only pitching them a product or service. Sales reps need to have a deeper understanding of the industry and of the dynamics between its major competitors. That way they can respond to shifts in the industry with the right content at the right time. Through continual onboarding and continual education, reps can re-position their roles as trusted advisors who buyers can rely on for creating solutions to the challenges they face in their business.
Make it easy to share content internally and externally.
As the number of stakeholders grows, it becomes more critical that relevant content can be easily shared internally and externally. This is especially true for deals with price points at $100,000 and above because, as our survey shows, they do more research and involve more stakeholders within a company. If potential customers suddenly can’t access important content, or evangelists within the company can’t show their colleagues content that supports their case for buying, the deal can be put into jeopardy. Sales reps need to make sure that all the tools they have at their disposal work correctly and that buyers can seamlessly share those tools wherever they want and whenever they want.
Personalize when possible.
When buyers say they want sales reps who are helpful, they mean helpful specific to their business challenges. That means content needs to reflect, not just the industry, but every aspect of the buyer’s business. Content needs to show in specific terms how the product or service will deliver ROI, ways to create efficiencies, and dynamics for growth potential. The sales rep needs to show up with a full understanding of the buyer’s place in the market. This is how trust develops. If buyers can see that you’ve done your homework, and your content is specific to them and no one else, it will be easier to see you as a partner to their success.
Don’t forget the human touch.
In our survey, B2B buyers say that helpfulness is the most important quality of a sales rep. The highest level of executives say they depend on emails and phone calls from sales reps. Despite the many new ways we communicate with each other, buyers still appreciate human interaction. Again, this is about building trust. They want to know there is someone behind the pitch that relates to their needs and who they can trust to help solve their problems whenever they happen. Human interaction is not just about knowing the prospect’s name but also making sure you know their business. Checking in often, actively delivering content that speaks directly to their needs, and responding quickly when they reach out are all ways sales reps can show buyers they are reliable.
How do you make your sales reps trusted advisors? Read Showpad’s new report, The New B2B Buyer Experience and join the Chemicals Sales & Marketing Toolbox in Berlin to hear more regarding sales and marketing strategies in the chemical industry.