To win over modern buyers, B2B sales organizations must provide a superior buying experience that compels customers to engage. If buyers aren’t receiving an excellent purchasing experience, they’ll take their business to companies that can deliver it.
Recent benchmarking from Gartner indicates that companies delivering exceptional buying experiences grow twice as fast as those that provide average experiences.
Despite all the potential upsides, many companies still make the buying journey challenging for customers. According to a Gartner survey, 77% of B2B buyers stated that their most recent purchase was complex or difficult.
The modern buying process is interconnected and multiexperience – that means sellers need to develop buyer-centric digital-first strategies to create the experiences buyers want.
In this post, we’ll share some insights to help you successfully engage the modern buyer and increase your win rates by outperforming at every stage of the buying experience.
What is a purchasing experience?
A purchasing experience is how your prospects and customers feel about the process of buying a product or service from your company. The buying experience includes every step of the customer journey, from realizing an initial need to exploring available solutions to making a final purchase.
It’s important to note that some buyers may not make it to the final purchase stage. They may choose not to buy from you or purchase a solution from one of your competitors. However, this doesn’t mean they didn’t have a good buying experience with your company – it simply means they didn’t reach your end objective.
You can still learn from monitoring and analyzing buying experiences that fall short of hitting the finish line. Indeed, these purchasing experiences are fertile ground for your optimization efforts.
The buying experience has a critical impact on sales
Research shows that buying experience has the biggest impact on whether prospective customers will purchase something, even outranking product choice and pricing. Today’s buyers expect personalized experiences tailored to their needs and motivations.
Buyers are also demanding a streamlined, seamless experience. Your company’s job is to make the purchasing process straightforward and intuitive, and to provide all necessary information as clearly and efficiently as possible.
Curious about the business impacts of providing an exceptional buying experience? As mentioned above, companies that provide outstanding purchasing experiences grow twice as fast as those that deprioritize the buying experience.
This faster growth is because better buying experiences lead to:
- More leads
- More referrals
- Increased traffic to your website
- Higher conversion rates
- Larger average deal sizes
- Lower customer churn
You may be wondering if the terms “customer experience” and “buying experience” are synonymous. They are related, but they describe different elements of a company.
Customer experience is how your existing customers view the entirety of their interactions with your brand, from the moment they decide to buy from you until they stop using your product or service. The customer experience focuses on increasing retention and generating customer loyalty.
The buying experience is a subset of the overall customer experience that focuses exclusively on prospective buyers. The goal of creating a positive purchasing experience is to increase conversion rates, shorten buying cycles, and set a foundation for future brand loyalty.
How can you improve the buyer experience?
Your company’s top priority should be delivering a buying experience that engages buyers and exceeds their expectations.
“The Future of Sales is the permanent transformation of organizations’ sales strategies, processes and allocation of resources, moving from a seller-centric to a buyer-centric orientation and moving from analog sales processes to hyper-automated, digital-first engagement with customers.”
Here are five ways to improve the modern buyer experience, grow and sell more effectively.
Take a buyer-centered approach
To design and implement a positive buying experience, evaluate what prospects are looking for at each stage of the buyer’s journey – increasingly, that means fewer interactions with sales reps and helping buyers access and validate the information they need to make a purchase decision:
“Thirty-three percent of all buyers desire a seller-free sales experience — a preference
that climbs to 44% for millennials.”
Make it easy for all stakeholders to find that information without extensive searching.
Map out each interaction your prospect has with your company when they’re thinking about making a purchase. This map may not be a linear path – many times, the buying journey has many twists and turns.
- How many stakeholders are involved in the typical buying process?
- When does your prospect realize they need a solution?
- Where do they initially look for information?
- What resources (online and offline) do they trust?
Create a list of touchpoints where your company engages with the potential customer, then make a list of the resources and channels you need so you can reach your prospects at the right time and place.
Focus on moving the buyer to each new step on their path by providing what they need.
The map you create helps you plot out a flow in which prospects will feel supported as they browse, gather information, consider options, and move toward their purchase.
Abandon the traditional sales pitch
The traditional approach to sales pitches is no longer enough. Generic pitches and sales reps who expect a once-and-done interaction with the customer are now a thing of the past. Updating your sales playbook and centering it around the modern buying experience can help.
A recent survey showed that 60% of people find generic sales pitches annoying or irritating.
To sell effectively, your pitches need to cut through the noise by engaging buyers where they are and providing value.
Data from Corporate Visions showed that 74% of buyers will choose a sales rep who adds insight and value to the buying experience.
Craft personalized, highly relevant sales pitches that address your prospects’ unique pain points and challenges. Include ways they can improve their business by adopting the right solution for their specific problems.
Remember, modern sales pitches aren’t made up of a single phone call or in-person interaction – a sales relationship unfolds across multiple channels and conversations throughout the sales cycle.
Offer personalized, timely content
Buyers want helpful sales reps who understand their most pressing business challenges. That means you need to offer insightful, personalized, relevant content that:
- Assists buyers in their search for a solution
- Reflects the overall industry, as well as your buyer’s unique business
- Shows a deep understanding of the buyer’s place in the market or industry
- Highlights how your solution will deliver ROI
Your content should also be tailored to the stages of the buyer’s journey, so your prospect has the right information at their fingertips at the right time.
Automation and AI are essential to this process in the modern buying environment:
“Most B2B organizations lack the hyperautomation, artificial intelligence (AI) and
digital scalability to deliver the multiexperience strategy that buyers seek.”
Being a trusted advisor is no longer optional for sales reps who want to provide an outstanding buying experience – it’s a must.
According to a Forrester report, 69% of buyers said they’ll only include vendors who understand their industry and market conditions on shortlists for proposed solutions.
Examples of customized sales content include:
- Presentations outlining the prospect’s specific needs and market position
- Personalized videos following up on a call or introducing yourself
- Customized proposals tailored to the needs of your prospect
- Case studies that show how your solution has solved problems for other companies
Answer your buyers’ questions
Being there to answer prospects’ questions is a big part of creating an outstanding purchase experience. Your potential customers need information to move through their buying journey, and they also want to know there are people behind your company who can assist them.
Customers expect instant (or, at the very least, fast) responses to their questions, so the bar for providing support is high.
In fact, 9 out of 10 users expect comprehensive answers in live chat on your website. Chat services are considered the fastest way to get answers related to products or services without spending hours conducting online research.
In Drift’s State of Chatbots report, researchers reported that 77% of users expect an instant response when they ask a question via live chat.
Responding quickly to customer queries submitted via contact forms also pays high dividends. People who hear back within five minutes of submitting a contact form are 21 times more likely to be qualified as leads than people who get an answer within 30 minutes.
Stepping up in this area can give your company a competitive advantage.
Drift also shares that only 7% of 433 companies in their survey typically respond within five minutes when prospects submit requests. Answering customers’ questions quickly can truly give you an edge in your industry.
Leverage a modern sales enablement platform for effective engagement
Giving sellers the tools they need to engage successfully with modern buyers is critical to creating outstanding customer buying experiences.
“When customers increasingly learn and buy digitally, sales reps become just one of many possible sales channels.”
Sales enablement solutions that integrate into sales teams’ workflows help sales reps meet buyers at the right time, with the right content and assistance, no matter where the buyers are in the customer journey.
“Persistent microsites include internal/external collaboration, embedded videoconferencing, buyer engagement analytics, sentiment and emotion analysis, as well as links to digital commerce platforms.”
Digital sales rooms (DSRs) are an excellent way to engage the modern buyer. DSRs are private spaces for vendors and buyers to collaborate. These spaces give buyers the power to determine how much interaction they have.
With Pitcher’s Super App for sales, your reps can leverage a multi-purpose application to create an omnichannel buying experience for prospects. Your team can use Pitcher’s sales enablement solution to:
- Create and distribute customized content
- Reduce the complexity of the buying process
- Drive intelligent interactions with prospects
- Offer appropriate cross-sells and upsells
- Empower sales managers to take a data-driven approach to coaching
How to create a positive buying experience
Your prospect’s buying experience is not a linear passage from start to finish – it’s a continuous process that often moves in a zig-zag pattern. Your job is to put knowledge at the prospect’s fingertips, giving them a positive experience at each stage of their journey.
Take a look at these steps to improve the purchasing experience to build sustainable growth and create a community of happy customers who act as your biggest brand advocates.