Influencing a business buyer is not easy. Research by Gartner shows that the B2B buying process continues to change drastically. Moreover, it turns out that the difficulty is not so much in sales, but more in the challenge for a buyer to buy something. This is due to the complexity of the decision-makers (DMU). At the same time, more and more options and solutions are coming onto the market. More solutions can lead to an overdose of information and choices. According to Gartner, you should, therefore, adjust your B2B strategy to buyer enablement.
In this article, we will tell you what buyer enablement is, what it yields and how you can approach it.
Buyer enablement: what is it?
Buyer enablement is making the buying process simple and efficient for the buyer by providing valuable information, both online and via personal contact. We usually talk about sales enablement in B2B, and this is the first step towards buyer enablement: it is creating a culture where Sales and Marketing work together in a more efficient way.
The Gartner survey shows that only 17 percent of buyers have contact with the supplier during the buying process. With buyer enablement, you provide the entire DMU with relevant information. You navigate through the whole buying process together with the buyer(s). This way, the chance is 2.8 times greater that buyers experience the buying process as simple, and value you more as a supplier.
How to apply buyer enablement
More deals, bigger deals and considered a valuable supplier; this sounds great. But how do you apply buyer enablement, and how do you organize it? A Marketing or Sales department cannot drive a buying process with both personal contact and relevant content alone. During the buying process, each member of the DMU has different information needs. To respond to this, it is vital that Sales and Marketing work together continuously and focus on “information excellence”.
Information excellence consists of offering relevant information at the right moments in the buying process. At the same time, you answer questions from the different personas within the DMU. The difference between traditional content marketing? Buyer enablement is always done together with the sales team.
Because the buying process is not linear, it is crucial that the marketing team also includes Sales in the campaign development. This way of working most resembles account-based marketing: it can only work if there is close cooperation between Marketing and Sales.
When Sales is involved in the content per buying phase and knows where the leads come from, Sales can help potential customers through the entire buying process.
Help your buyer go through the buying process simple and effective
Most marketing teams are organized in a way to generate leads and nurture them until they are “warm” enough for Sales. However, buyers don’t necessarily buy in that order, which is why a hand-off from a qualified lead to Sales must be done differently.
Or, as Gartner puts it: “Customers don’t buy in a linear fashion. Instead, they use both digital and in-person channels with near-equal frequency to complete each of the buying jobs more or less simultaneously. Therefore, Sales and Marketing must operate in parallel, not serial, fashion. “
Some time ago I wrote an article for Marketingfacts following a meeting with philosopher and behavioural scientist Nick Southgate. It was about how business buyers buy. One of my key takeaways from this meeting was that you have to make it easy for the buyer and take the buyer’s emotion into account. Also, a group of buyers (DMU) does not necessarily make the right decisions. All the more reason to take into account a different way of providing information in the purchasing process.