Most sales representatives have heard the phrase “Always be Closing” a few times in their careers. This once-considered motivational phrase, which underscores high-pressure tactics rather than support, no longer cuts it for today’s buyers.
The “Always be Closing” methodology focuses on only one stage of the buyer’s journey – the final decision or the “close” in the sales funnel. Smart marketers and sales representatives recognize that modern buyers require nurturing at every stage and that they must work together to “Always be Helping” buyers.
Here are five strategies for Xerox Channel Partners to support customers through their buying process and increase the quality of interactions at each phase from “awareness”, “consideration” to “decision.”
- Educate, don’t sell.
Today’s marketers understand that the buying process is a journey, which includes three stages: awareness, consideration, and decision. In the initial stages, buyers recognize they have a problem and turn to search engines, B2B review sites, social media, and websites to explore solutions. Because buyers are armed with information at their fingertips, they rarely reach out to Sales and prefer to self-serve. In fact, 57% of B2B buyers are through the purchase decision before reaching out to a sales representative. This new paradigm makes educational content a fundamental piece of your online strategy.To empower customers to help themselves, offer the following types of educational content:
- How-to YouTube videos and Vines
- Blog posts
- White papers
- Research data
- Product pages that connect to buyer’s needs
- Add value to interactions.
There is no doubt that today’s buyers prefer to self-serve, but this doesn’t mean that sales representatives should wait for “ready-to-buy” leads to drop in their laps. With modern inbound marketing tools, channel partners can track buyers’ website activities, such as white paper or eBook downloads, by contact. When you understand the behavior and profile of a buyer who visits your website, opportunities become available to reach out with targeted advice when the timing is right. These in-person conversations add a personal touch, which places you on the road to being a trusted advisor.
- Shut up and start listening.
It’s challenging for Xerox channel partners to offer a helpful attitude if they “don’t know what they don’t know.” Making assumptions and telling buyers what they need is guaranteed to result in lost sales. For marketers and sales representatives alike, it’s important to gather feedback utilizing listening techniques. Arm yourself with information to help you offer the best solutions to buyers’ problems, anticipate objections, build online relationships, and stay ahead of your competition.To collect data and feedback online, apply the strategies below:
- Monitor social media engagement using a social media listening tool
- Set up profiles on B2B review sites, monitor interactions, and reply regularly
- Monitor online activity about your business and your competitor’s businesses through Google Alerts
- Get customer feedback using survey tools
- Measure website activity and backlinks to your website
- Personalize buyer experience.
As buyers enter the Consideration stage, they are evaluating you and your competition and personalized experiences go a long way towards differentiating your business. For example, learn about your prospects’ needs, problems, and desires through active listening and offer personalized presentations and product demonstrations tailored to their requirements. This will earn trust and confidence and move you one step closer to a sale.
UK-based Xerox Channel Partner, Document Network Services Ltd (DNS) took personalization to the next level by building an Innovation Center, which enables customers to test the solutions they put into their businesses before they invest. In this article, you can learn how you can build your own innovation center to transform your business through personalized demonstrations.
- Offer great customer experience and service
Modern buyers are turning to their peers for advice and the best source of quality leads is from word of mouth – both face-to-face and online. Given this, make sure you deliver the best customer experience throughout the buyer journey and that “Always be Helping” doesn’t end at the close of a sale. By taking the time to focus on customer experience and service, you’ll receive referrals in return. For tips on how to deliver outstanding customer experience and service, follow the strategies outlined in this article.
In the end, offering a helping attitude to buyers as they progress through their journey, while avoiding aggressive sales tactics, will surely result in business outcomes that both you and your buyers desire.
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