The (New) B2B Buyer – Who they are and what they expect?
The bedrock of any successful sales strategy is to know who your buyer is, how they make their purchase decisions and what they expect from the buying process.
a) Enter the Millennial
According to Marketing Consultancy Merit, 73% of millennial workers are involved in decisions to purchase products or services for their companies, and one–third are the sole decision-makers. Millennials are digital by default and 85% of them use Social Media to research products and services for their company.
b) Emphasis on Sales Experience
No surprises here. 53% of the reason why a buyer decides to work with you is because of Sales Experience you provide, and 82% of them expect quick responses in real-time.
And Sales Experience is not limited to the interaction with the Rep, but from the time the buyer acknowledges that they need to solve an issue (or senses an opportunity), and starts looking for options.
c) Uncertain and Stressed
This might seem a paradox, but the wealth of information has increased the stress and uncertainty among the buyer. For every decision made, there could be hundreds of alternatives, increasing post-purchase anxiety. And the buyer expects you to allay their fears and make the buying journey less stressful.
The B2B buyer of today isn’t looking for handed-down solutions but rather wants to decide for themselves the best course of action. One must take this into account before coming up with a strategy for B2B sales.
THE MECR B2B Sales Strategy
- Map the Buyer’s Buying Journey
The first step would be to put yourself in your Buyer’s shoes and think how and when they would reach out to you. A Buyer’s Purchase Journey typically consists of 3 steps:
Stage 1 – Awareness –The buyer understands they face a challenge or see an opportunity. And they decide if it is a priority to solve for them.
Stage 2- Consideration – At this stage, the buyer explores various options and their viability to address the challenge. For instance, they may deliberate on build – versus – buy model or technology-versus-people options, and so on.
Stage 3 – Decision Stage The customer agrees on a suitable solution and engages with a Sales Rep, probably for the first time.
The buyer’s journey includes the entire journey – from awareness to the purchase and includes all the interactions with your brand even before they reach out to you. As a seller, you need to provide your customers with all relevant information, at every stage of the buying process, to enable them to make informed decisions.
For instance,70% of B2B buyers rely on content for research and purchasing decisions. You will have to deliver relevant content at every touchpoint.
- Enable your Reps
As seen from the Journey Maps, the buyer contacts the Sales Reps after long deliberations. Your buyer isn’t looking for someone who can tell them what a product does, but for a trusted advisor in the Rep. The Reps should not only have a good understanding of the product but also the buyer – who they are, what they sell, and to whom, the industry they are in, the challenges they face and how the product can help them achieve their goals.
‘The Reps must be positioned as experts in the field.’
They must have resources – blogs/Whitepapers/Infographics – that address the buyer’s pain point and share it with the buyer. The buyers are more likely to engage with a Rep(and a brand) whom they trust and see as experts.
- Collaborate with your buyer
Every B2B purchase involves 6.8 people – each have their own priorities, biases, and requirements. The job of a Rep is to get all of them on board. The Reps must involve and find ways to satisfy all the stakeholders.
If the Engineering Team isn’t convinced about the Technical Feasibility, involve your Product Team to find solutions. If there are Price Issues, get your Finance or Marketing Team to come up with suitable options.
By actively working with the buyer, you demonstrate a willingness to understand their needs and finding solutions. It shows that you are genuinely interested in them, and aren’t just looking to make a sale.
- Return on Investment
Businesses are generally more interested in the tangible impact ($ earned or saved) of using your offering.
Your message to a prospect or buyer needs be along these 3 lines
- The value offered by your solution
- The value gained by your current users
- Value for the potential customers
Prepare and share relevant resources – Customer Testimonials, Whitepapers, Third Party reviews – with your buyers at every stage of their buying journey. An ROI focus gets your buyer interested and makes it easier to sell across the board.
The Business landscape of today is constantly changing, and as Sellers, one has to constantly keep pace with the changes. The MECR is one such strategy to help businesses navigate the changing landscape.
But at the end of the day, businesses have to adapt to the changing times and be flexible about their strategies. This, along with an obsession to add value to the buyer, is what makes Teams(and organizations) successful in the long run.
B2B selling has changed. Period.
The pandemic has had a great impact on everything and we have a new normal and old normal now. Talking about B2B sales strategy, it is also important for us to understand how the future would look like for B2B sales. Even prior to the Covid-19 Pandemic, the subsequent lockdowns and shift to remote working, the B2B sales landscape was undergoing a drastic change.
The implications are clear. Today’s buyers are self-driven, better informed, and have an abundance of options. They truly have become the King/Queen.
In this constantly evolving scenario, the MECR strategy stands out to be a win for B2B sales teams.