In the past decade, buyer behavior (especially in the B2B market) has shifted dramatically as more and more companies have started their search for your product or service online rather than through advertisements, tradeshows or in-person sales calls.
This shift in purchasing behavior doesn’t mean that offline channels (such as telemarketing) don’t matter, but it does mean that buyer expectations have changed, and your business needs to adapt its lead generation efforts and sales process accordingly – or be left in the dust of twenty-first century marketing and sales.
Here are four ways that your company needs to adjust its sales and lead generation efforts to fit new B2B buying behavior:
1. Set Proper Expectations
Today’s buyers wanted it yesterday, where “it” is your product or service. And while price and quick service are both important, B2B purchasers are ultimately looking for a long-term partnership over a merely transactional relationship.
What does this mean for your business? Early in the lead generation process, position your sales team as partnership-builders and not just commission-hungry sellers. Then, once you have a contracted engagement, set expectations of what the partnership entails and what it looks like moving forward. Once your engagement is underway, don’t forget to make necessary adjustments to keep your customers pleased and your relationship healthy.
2. Have Collateral On-Hand
With the Internet, today’s buyers are more empowered than ever to make a buying decision before they even pick up the phone (including when you call them). So, in order to attract these research-driven buyers, your website needs to have plenty of content and collateral to answer their questions and position your company as the partner of choice.
Buyers may lead themselves 80% down the buyer’s journey before they even contact you, so make sure your content is compelling and gets to the core of their needs. Prospects should be able to find out all the information they want about your business without the commitment of talking to a salesperson. Then, if your collateral has been effective at selling your product or service, you’ll be the first business they call.
3. Build Your Presence On Multiple Channels
While outbound lead generation is an important part of your marketing and sales mix, your company shouldn’t attempt to survive on just a single sales channel. We say attempt to survive, because without some sort of presence across multiple online and offline channels, your business won’t survive with today’s buyers.
Your prospects expect to interact with your company in a variety of ways, and when they’re ready to purchase from you, they might close the deal on any of your given channels. Thus, your business needs to diversify its lead generation and sales efforts into other channels like marketing automation software and social media – you need to give your buyers more options on how to research your offerings and business. Without multiple options, you will not be where your buyers are looking, and they will be hesitant about your legitimacy and ultimately search for other solution providers.
4. Position Yourself As The Expert
B2C buyers can be easily swayed on factors like price and brand competition. After all, their relationship with a business is more transactional. However, B2B buyers are much more picky, and one of their main stipulations is that your company demonstrates its expertise and leadership. An incompetent partner (or an inexperienced one) doesn’t get the final sign-off, only the expert does.
While generating content and website collateral (number two, above) go a long way in conveying thought leadership and expertise, it’s also important to harness the power of social proof. This means your company needs to actively seek, curate and nurture user-generated content and reviews that validate your product or solution as the industry’s best. Without solid, positive reviews, your lead generation efforts lack the muscle to close the deal.
Today’s buyers expect more from your business than ever before. But, if you put in the work to mirror your lead generation and sales process to their new buying behavior, your business won’t be hurting – it’ll be thriving.
Need more quick tips on how to improve your lead generation or sales process? Click below to download a tip sheet from Invenio Solutions® and discover how the Science of Sales™ helps you generate warmer leads and optimize your sales process for maximum profitability.