Gone are the days when making a sale was simple or straightforward. The times have changed, and so have the buyers. To sustain themselves, businesses must gain a good grasp of the buyers’ thinking and the journey they go through while finalizing a purchase.
In a B2B model, when we talk to new clients, we typically discuss what solutions we can provide to them with respect to the challenges they face. While some challenges are tackled head-on immediately, others remain unseen and neglected.
For example, a manufacturing business owner might engage with his customers timely by diligently managing their records. However, he realizes that whatever he produces is not being delivered to all his potential customers.
Here, the business owner recognizes that he is facing demand and supply chain issues, leading to inventory wastage and poor sales forecasting. To fix this, he is now in search of solutions and suppliers. While finding solutions is a good approach, what if there was a way for business owners to completely steer clear of such issues?
Kylas is a robust sales CRM system that allows you to store and track the data of all your consumers. It also offers data analysis, to present usable trends to you from this large volume of data.
How Can Businesses Align With the Buyers’ Preferences?
Problems like the ones mentioned in the preceding section can be avoided by gaining an understanding of a buyer’s journey and aligning one’s business in accordance with it.
Unlike a B2C journey, the B2B buying journey is more complex and extensive as it involves multiple decision-makers.
The buying stages of a B2C customer involve identifying a problem, finding solutions to fix it, and making a final decision. However, in a B2B buying journey, the buyer is one step ahead. He/she will understand how a product truly is, by comparing different vendors after the consideration stage. Here, the buyer has multiple options to choose from before making the final decision.
This means your buyer is not only well-informed but a tough nut to crack while making a sales pitch. In fact, studies reveal that 70% of the buyer’s journey is completed long before potential buyers even contact a sales representative for information.
This means you must deliver your customers the best product and service every time they get in touch with you.
What Is the Buyer’s Journey?
A buyer’s journey is simply a customer’s path or the steps that they go through before making a final purchase. The process involves customers entering three crucial stages in their buying journey that include: awareness, consideration, and decision.
Every buyer undergoes a decision-making process where he/she identifies their pain points and scouts for solutions before they decide on a product or a service. During each stage, a customer will be confused and will have a lot of questions. As a result, small business owners can map out sales and marketing strategies that align with their customers at each stage.
Understanding the Stages of a Buyer’s Journey
Now that we are aware of what a buyer’s journey is, let’s take a closer look at each stage from a B2B buyer’s perspective:
The Awareness Stage
Most B2B buyers are already 57% of the way through the buying process before the first meeting with a representative.
In the awareness stage, the buyer is experiencing a problem or recognizing their pain points. For example, as an EdTech start-up owner, you are unable to streamline your admission process with excessive student data and lack of time. During this stage, you identify your problem, I.e., “Managing a large database of student profiles.”
The Consideration Stage
B2B buyers spend 27% of their time researching online during the consideration stage.
In the consideration stage, the EdTech start-up owner has clearly defined the problem and is now evaluating how to fix it. For example, a sales leader would now look up online the best tools and software (preferably a CRM) that can help him solve his student enquires faster and streamline his admission process.
According to research, when B2B customers are in a consideration stage, they spend approximately 27% of their time researching online, compared to just 17% of the time spent in meetings with potential suppliers.
The Decision Stage
The B2B buying journey is complex and time-consuming. There may be 6-10 people involved in any given B2B purchasing decision.
The EdTech owner has decided on a solution to overcome his challenge. His goal now is to compile a list of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools and understand the benefits of using a CRM tool in EdTech, along with its cost and its offerings.
Now that you’ve discovered your buyer’s journey and approach at each stage, you need to map out your sales processes accordingly to strongly impact their purchasing decision.
Buyer’s Journey Has Changed. Here’s How SMBs Can Plan Better.
How well do I know my buyer? What do they prefer when they make a purchase? Are they price-sensitive? These are certainly a few questions that come to every business owner’s mind. So, let’s have a look at how the buyer’s journey has evolved over time, and how business owners can modify their operations to accommodate this evolution.
Earlier on, the entire process of pitching the product to a customer, elaborating on its benefits, and convincing them to purchase it was seamless and easy. A salesperson would meet the prospects during conferences, trade shows, and networking events, where the conversation would take place in person.
Nowadays, the roles are reversed. The efforts that buyers must put in while discovering and analyzing what they need are in their control – Thanks to the internet!
In today’s day and age, the buyer is savvy and knowledgeable. Thus, small business owners can implement the following strategies to capture their buyer’s interest.
Meet Your Buyer’s Preferences
Asking a customer what they need, and how you can fix their problem, offers assurance to them. As a result, a small business owner must aim at leveraging customer insights and data to streamline better-personalized conversations with buyers. By knowing buyers’ preferences, sales leaders can attract and retain loyal customers.
Better Brand Positioning Through Content
Content indeed is the king when it comes to attracting customers. A small business brand-building strategy includes well-informed articles, blogs, white papers, and guides. They help your customers gauge the required information about the product/service before they talk to the sales reps. A well-crafted content strategy will make your brand even more reliable and authentic.
A sales-driven organization requires a well-rounded strategy to improve its selling process. Here is how you can create a winning sales strategy plan with Kylas.
Leverage Better Tools and Channels
Advertising has gone far beyond television spots, print ads, and word-of-mouth publicity. In today’s day and age, a customer’s go-to platform is social media. Ensure your content is constantly published on social media channels. Also, make sure that it reflects on top search engines to stay ahead of the competition.
Also, two-way communication with your customers creates a lasting impact and shapes their buying decision. Therefore, choosing the right tool that can truly empower your teams can help you achieve small business growth.
Deliver Good Customer Service Support
What makes customer support great? Empathy, proactiveness, and convenience. A dissatisfied customer will always share a negative review online or offline that might tarnish your brand’s reputation. Thus, responsiveness and a solution-oriented approach will help you build a healthy relationship with your customers.
A good customer support team will win the trust of your established customer base. It will also help you gain new customers through positive reviews and referrals.
The deciding factors of small business growth are its customers and their buying journey. That said, a small business owner, who is seeking growth in today’s times, must understand the significance of digital presence. A study shows that after reading recommendations, 61% of online consumers in the U.S. decided to make a purchase. This shows how the purchasing behavior of a customer is transforming.
They are not ignorant of the current market trends, and they have new-age technology and customer reviews at their fingertips. Therefore, to achieve small business growth, sales and marketing managers need to constantly engage with their customers during their buying journey without overlooking the digital gaps.