Great posting on how the sales process has changed in the age of Social Business and how and why businesses need to respond:
They start their research doing one of two things: they search on Google (for Low- to Medium-Scrutiny products and services) or they talk to their peers (for Heavy-Scrutiny and Intense-Scrutiny products and services). They start getting answers and recommendations, from other customers who have purchased the same product or service that they are thinking of buying. In other words, they turn to the Customer Community for answers – using reviews, discussion groups, blogs, and direct contact via email and conversations.
By the time these customers come in contact with a salesperson – or a website serving the role of a salesperson – the Customer Community has already served the role that the salesperson used to perform. …
By the time a customer has come to you, the Customer Community has answered many questions, and you are now on the prospect’s short list. If your salespeople are selling the „old“ (normal) way, you will lose the sale.
- Interview customers who have already bought from you, asking them what their concerns were as they were buying and how you finally successfully addressed those concerns. Map out their buying process and make sure you are aligned with it, at every step. …
- Make sure their concerns are all addressed on your website, answering the question, „What’s going to happen to me after I buy?“ Be sure you answer these questions in your content marketing as well, including blogs and emails.
- Make sure your salespeople can answer the very specific questions they will be asked when the customer finally makes contact with you, after the customer has gotten the „generic“ questions answered by the Customer Community. If a salesperson can’t learn what he needs to learn, or doesn’t have the patience to answer questions properly, replace that pushy, superficial hunter with a nurturer. Personal experience with clients has proven to me that nurturers can outsell the hunters.
Buyers have already changed their buying process. You must change your selling process – now – if you don’t want to be left in the dust.