Sales professionals are keenly aware that the modern buyer has evolved in recent years. As technology continues to change the way people connect, it also changes their expectations about purchases and interacting with sales representatives.
As a result, you’ll need to train your sales reps to engage modern buyers in the best way possible.
A Brief Overview of the Modern Buyer
There’s no denying the modern buyer has changed over the years. Today’s buyers are digitally driven and most connect via social media. They’re also self-sufficient. Almost three-quarters of buyers delve into research before buying. More than half of that research is conducted online.
The numbers tell the story. About 85 percent of CEOs and VPs use social media to make purchase decisions. Buyers at all levels complete nearly 60 percent of the sales cycle before they actively engage with your sales representatives.
Buying itself has also become more complex. On average, 5.4 people are involved in any purchase decision.
Sales Reps Must Understand the Buying Journey
In light of these changes, sales professionals must understand and adapt to the modern buying journey. Seeing the statistics, it’s little wonder why older techniques, such as cold calling, have become less effective over time. These techniques don’t connect with buyers the same way they once did.
The purchase cycle is no longer a linear path. Instead, sales professionals can think of it as a journey with many stops along the way. Modern buyers conduct plenty of online research. They’ll visit social media, read blogs and vendor reviews, and seek out referrals. They learn so much before they reach out to your sales representatives.
In this environment, sales professionals must learn how to engage the buyer indirectly. Your sales team members will have indirect contact with a potential buyer long before they achieve direct contact. After all, your sales reps shouldn’t be waiting until buyers are almost 70 percent of the way through their buying journey to reach out. Instead, utilize a multiple-channel strategy to create a strong social presence with engaging content.
Buyers will still want to communicate with an actual person at the end of the journey, but the initial grab will be through solid marketing and awareness of the product. After all, almost 70 percent of leads come from social channels such as Twitter, while a mere 15 percent originate from lead lists.
Social Selling Has More Success
The numbers strongly support this push toward social selling. While it’s a good idea to diversify your sales strategy, B2B sellers who adopt these tactics are 72 percent more likely to exceed their quotas than non-social sellers. They also outpace their non-social seller competition by more than 20 percent when it comes to sales growth.
What’s clear from this numerical picture is that sales professionals must be willing to play a long game when it comes to engaging the modern buyer. Your sales reps should be practicing social selling daily. You’re 60 percent more likely to hit your revenue goals if you do engage in social selling every day.
Embrace the Digital Age
Some sales professionals find this shift in the modern buying experience almost overwhelming. The evolution has happened rapidly. The effectiveness of older techniques has declined quite quickly, and buyers continue to shift their expectations.
This is why training is vital to your sales reps. Initial training will help them adapt to the modern buyer and the modern buying journey. Ongoing training will help them adopt emerging mediums like video, which help salespeople stay creative and humanize the purchase experience for your prospects.
Buyers are more engaged by sales reps who can engage with the online world. Your sales team members need to stay active in social and digital selling for this reason. Keep your sales approach fresh and compelling through training, and you’ll find greater sales success ahead.