How to sell to the self-educating customer

As a salesperson, you no longer control the majority of information the buyer has access to when looking into a solution. 36% of B2B consumers don’t even think about talking to a sales representative before they’ve formed a consideration set on their own. In other words, many customers will identify potential solutions to their problem before contacting an expert in the field.

As a modern organisation, you have to respond to a buyers’ need for easily accessible information, or you won’t be given a second thought and never make it onto their shortlist.

Craft your online content carefully

Provide the necessary information to give online visitors trust and interest in your product while maintaining value in your sales team is tricky and demands careful balance.

The most important initial sources of contact are

  • Web search (review & comparison websites, forums, etc.)
  • Your company site
  • Company whitepapers
  • Social media

On the media you control, make sure you have valuable content that proves your solution’s value and helps potential buyers find the information they’re looking for. Think for example about case studies around certain industries, problems and features of your solution. Focus on information that helps the buyer understand how using your solution is the best choice for long-term benefit.

Listen & respond

Nowadays you cannot control all the places where there is talk about your product or the problem you solve. That is why it is crucial to be present and at least listening across the internet for talk about your product as well as the problem you’re solving.

Make sure you have a presence on all major social media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and, depending on your solution, also others such as Pinterest and Google+. If people are dissatisfied, they will often use your social media presence to vent their dissatisfaction, giving you an opportunity to respond and resolve it. If you do not have a social media presence, they will often vent towards others such as forums or review websites as well as their personal network where it is harder to influence what is being said and reduces your control.

Set up alerts. Think of filters around key terms in Twitter and a simple Google Alert on your company name, products and the problem you solve. This enables you to join in the conversation not just around your product, but also the problem you’re solving. It enables your organisation to find new leads by presenting your solution to people who may not have heard from you yet, returning control to you.

Leverage buying signals

While online gives the customer more control, it has also given you more control if you know the right way to use the right tools.

Buying signals like sharing of content, downloads from your site or opening of emails divides your contact database into ‘hot’, ‘warm’ or ‘cold’ leads. You can focus more of your time and money on targeting these ‘hot’ or ‘warm’ leads through micro-targeted campaigns.

For example, a lead may spend the majority of their time looking at videos and case studies of a particular feature of your product. Knowing this enables the sales team to connect the lead to even more relevant content and guide the lead down the sales funnel.

Most Marketing Automation systems enable you to do lead scoring based on browsing behaviour, however the functionality and cost varies widely. A popular system for SMEs is InfusionSoft. Larger organisations may want to look at solutions such as HubSpot or Marketo.

Be direct

Don’t hide your ads; your messaging should be strong and upfront.

While personal consumers in B2C markets respond to emotional campaigns and indirect, hidden marketing efforts, B2B consumers prefer obvious and direct writing that explains clearly how your product or service will make their business better.

B2B buyers are being paid to make a decision based on solid reasoning, not emotion. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t focus on authenticity and the client experience, but it does mean the product should mainly appeal to reason, not emotion.

Close the power gap

While it may feel that your customers have control over you, these four steps go a long way to putting the power into the hands of your salesforce again.

To discuss what these buying signal tools are and how they can help your sales team today, contact us at info@roobix.com.au or on 1300 664 957 and speak to one of our knowledgeable Marketing Delivery Managers.