The 1-2-3 of B2B

How to align your sales process to your buyer's journey


The buyer's journey describes the process a typical business buyer takes as they move through the sales funnel.

It's their process, not yours.

The journey is not an administrative process, but a cognitive one. The buyer moves from being complacent to troubled, then becomes clear about needs and viable options, before deciding on preferences and opening the way for an acceptable contract.

But the selling process does not - and cannot - precisely follow this path. There are steps the seller must take that are important for the seller that are not part of the buyer's journey. So how do you align these two journeys?

They should follow parallel paths. The key is to walk through the journeys step by step and consider issues in tandem. Start with the buyer's journey and ask yourself at each stage: 'what do we have to do to help buyers move from one stage to the next?'

Consider, too, that as the seller you must do things before the buyer's journey starts, and after it has ended. The resulting parallel journey, outlined in The Leaky Funnel, will look something like this.

Buyer's Journey

Seller's Journey

Untroubled and unaware

Find new names

Position in category

Identify problem

Acknowledge pain

Qualify and prioritise

Define needs

Establish credentials

Define needs

Receive proposals

Propose solution

Select vendors

Prove concept

Select single vendor

Defeat competition

Obtain management approval

Engage

Obtain contract

Deliver

Grow

 

Your execution should focus on the stages of the seller's journey.

Your choice of tactics for your business should be those best able to move your buyer through each stage of their journey.

Consider the following tactical approach:

  • Find new names in proven business lists and filter them to match an ideal customer profile.

  • Position your business as a member of the category by sending potential buyers monthly invitations to house-branded events.

  • Get independent speakers to 'trouble' buyers at events by discussing real-life examples of businesses that fail to address the problems you solve.

  • Determine if they are sufficiently troubled by reviewing responses to your post-seminar surveys.

  • Tele-market those with the highest scores on our qualification matrix and pass the names to the sales department only if they score over an agreed level.

  • Get sales people to establish their credentials in face-to-face meetings using your logo board and a brief explanation of the measured ROI your customers have gained.

  • Help the buyer define their needs by conducting a paid-for 'health check', with an offer of a rebate of fees against future purchases. Review the results of the health check with the buyer. Discuss key contract terms on a 'should we engage' basis to identify show-stoppers.

  • Propose a solution that directly addresses agreed gaps.

  • Engender the buyer with confidence in your ability to address these gaps by taking them on a tour of two existing customers' sites.

  • Encourage the buyer to select you as a preferred vendor by conducting a direct competitive comparison against agreed gaps using third-party data to support your assertions.

  • Help the buyer to enter into a contract by making the first steps simple and affordable.

  • Condition them for future growth through user-group presentations highlighting new applications of the technology.

Your task is not to work buyers through your sales process, but to help them along their buying path. An easier journey makes for an easier sale.


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