It’s no secret that buyers have evolved with the digital age. With information at their fingertips and a need for speed, modern consumers are demanding more from businesses than ever before. While many companies are falling behind, others are rising to the challenge and exceeding the new buyer expectations with consumer-oriented customer experiences.
Companies such as Amazon, Airbnb and Uber have set the bar high for the buyer experience, and now consumers often won’t settle for less. As a result, startups that hope to adapt and succeed need to rethink the way they engage consumers.
As an entrepreneur, what can you do to exceed modern buyer demands and leave an impression that keeps customers coming back?
Here are four ways to make your startup a modern buyer’s best friend:
Influence the committee
The first thing to realize is that, in many ways, the modern buyer has evolved into modern buyers. Recent studies show that 30 percent of modern buyers speak with their peers when they’re ready to buy, seeking validation from others before they fully commit to a purchase. For B2B purchasing, consensus drives the buying decision. Today, it takes an average of 6.8 people to sign off on each purchase, whereas in previous years it took an average of 5.4 people.
This gives startups an opportunity to shift their focus from the individual to the collective. The people involved in the buying decision are spread across different departments, locations and have varying titles, and they are not amateurs in the buying world. They conduct their own research and know what they are looking for.
To engage them collectively, marketing and sales teams need to show that they understand their unique needs and can deliver solutions that directly address them. These educated buyers will only be moved to make a joint decision by personalized, value-added guidance and subject matter expertise.
Modern buyers do not like to waste time. In fact, 76 percent of B2B buyers said that a timely response from a vendor was important to their decision process. In a world of one-click purchases and quick turnaround time, companies cannot afford to lose buyers due to lack of readiness or reactive responses.
Businesses need to find ways to bring their prospects through the buyer’s journey in an efficient manner, meeting buyers at the stage they are already at. Sixty-eight percent of buyers prefer gathering information on their own before interacting with a sales rep, meaning that over half of the buyer’s journey has already been traveled before any impactful interaction with a seller occurs.
If buyers are engaging with your startup halfway through their journey, marketing and sales teams need to focus efforts on crafting strategies and content that map to the second half. With the right content delivered at the right time, you can effectively guide buyers to their destination, ensuring the swift and smooth journey that modern buyers expect.
Provide value-add insight
Because today’s buyers do their homework, sales reps need to go above and beyond just providing educational information. Research confirms that 53 percent of customer loyalty is driven by unique and valuable perspectives, demonstrating that providing insights not only helps close deals, but creates repeat customers.
In order to successfully give value, marketing teams must provide sales reps with highly effective sales content that is accessible, applicable and analyzable. The majority of marketing material often goes unused due to poor sales content management, but when reps can easily access all the relevant content and apply it to any given conversation, they can utilize its full potential and reap the benefits.
Develop a sales enablement plan
No matter how great your content management is or how up to date your sales playbooks are, if your sales and marketing teams are not on the same page, your company will not be the powerful, united force that consistently wins buyers over every time.
Sales enablement provides the missing link that bridges the gap between sales and marketing. An effective platform equips teams with the content, training and tools they need to succeed. It allows your sales and marketing teams to work together through content organization, shared information and end-to-end analytics. Marketers can use data to create content that the sales team uses, and sellers can find the right assets for every interaction.
At the end of the day, modern buyers are independent, informed and capable of choosing the company that provides them with the best experience. By following the four tips above, you can become the company that buyers turn to, every time.