So, you think sales is tough? Well I’ve got news for you. Buying something can be even more difficult.

The question is, what are you doing to help? Probably nothing. And why should you? Your job is just to sell, right?”

It’s time to stop focusing on perfecting our sales process and instead focus more on the buyer.

The first problem is people — we need to focus on hiring the right ones and giving them proper training. The second issue is information, so we need to provide data that will help guide decision making.The third problem is process: with buyer enablement, there’s a good chance for more efficient processes as well as improved performance of global sales teams.”


Need Help Automating Your Sales Prospecting Process?

LeadFuze gives you all the data you need to find ideal leads, including full contact information.

Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following: 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year
Just to give you an idea. 😀

3 Reasons for Sales Performance Decline

Every year, there are more salespeople who do not meet quota.

Every year, more job offers end up not being accepted.

The process of buying is difficult, complex and longer than expected. More than three-fourths of companies say this.

buyer enablement

 

Why is buying so challenging?

Too many people

When there are more people involved, it becomes harder to reach agreement.

When there are more people, it means that the pain is worse. If we were to convert this into a formula, it would be

People = Pain

More and more people are involved in B2B buying decisions. Gartner reports that the average number of people who were on a purchasing decision has increased from 5.4 to 11, with even more for technical project decisions.

Hard to believe, right?

Sales teams always underestimate the size of a buying team, but it’s not because these people don’t exist. It’s just that they haven’t been identified.

People are coming to meetings with their own agendas and everyone has a say in the decisions.

In order to sell products, it’s not just about getting a yes from one person. It has become necessary for salespeople to get the collective approval of everyone involved in that purchase decision.

Today, executives are more careful about what they do because of the resistance and reluctance to change. They want buy-in from stakeholders and team members.

It’s a smart play.

People want to be heard, and one way companies can do that is by involving more people in the decision-making process.

It’s a lot more difficult to find the best employees when you have all these other factors in mind.

The problem is that they know what the solution to their business need is, but for some reason it’s hard for them to make a decision.

Why?

When buyers are not aligned, they cannot all agree on a vendor.

Salespeople have to win a lot of yeses before they can get one sale.

Too much information

In the past, customers were starved of good information. Now they have too much content to sift through.

With so many companies creating content, it’s hard for any one company to be the only voice in a prospect’s head.

Every company makes bold statements about being the best, so they can stand out from others.

The effect is just the opposite. It leaves people feeling confused.

When prospects have to make an informed and educated decision, it can be really difficult. They have a lot of information that they need to sort through.

The buyer committee spends about as much time on conflict resolution (15% of their meeting) than they do actually interviewing sellers (17%)

Most sellers create information that is too self-serving, too broad and not specific enough to be helpful.

Customers need information that is tailored to their roles and responsibilities, as well as how they plan on using the product.

Expecting someone to find the golden nuggets on their own is like throwing them into a minefield and expecting them to figure out which way they should go.

Chaotic process

When we think about the buying process, we often make assumptions and believe it is linear. But in reality, our prospects’ decision making can be much more chaotic than ours.

I want to say that it’s not just the buyer journey, as is often called. It’s actually a process of deciding and buying.

It’s hard to follow the logic of this term because it changes direction so often. It is like a drunken driver who can’t make up his or her mind.

It’s not a journey of adulthood, but instead it’s all about the decision to buy or do nothing.

I read an article about the SaaS buyer’s journey and how companies navigate it. It offers a real-life glimpse into this process.

OK, I’m off my soapbox now!

When I first started my company, it was hard to be my own toughest critic. It’s difficult because I’m the leader of the business and am supposed to know everything.

You can’t do that. It’s not realistic.

So, why would I assume that the job market is any different for those on the other side of it? Buyers are human too.

When you’re selling something that isn’t a commodity, there’s no way to predict when and how it will be bought. In complex or enterprise sales, they may not purchase your product for 5-10 years at a time.

Think again.

Buyers are changing how they make decisions, but the public sector is slower to change.

Now, think about all the points I’ve raised. There are more people involved than ever before and it’s hard to keep up with everything.

A lot of companies are hiring salespeople without considering the needs of their customers. This is making successful selling more like a lottery than science.

If we break the buying process down to its most basic form, it would be like this: 1) You see something you want and make a mental note. 2) The next time you’re in that store or online shopping for those items again, your brain remembers what they were.

The buying process has a number of stages and is handled by different people in the buyer committee.

The process of diversifying the workforce is complicated, which makes it difficult to get everything right on your first try. You have to go back and review what you did before.

The sales process can be confusing, making it hard to know what they want or how you’ll make the sale.

The root cause

I am going to start this question session with a word of warning, because there will be some criticism coming your way.

If you knew more about your potential customers, would that help you sell to them better?

It is a good question, and I have never had someone say no to it.

I provide sales enablement content to help my reps with what they need.

If you want to be successful, start with the basics. Who do you know? What about them can help your buyers make a decision?

It is surprising to me that many salespeople and leaders don’t know enough about their buyers. Sure, we’re in a numbers game, but you need to have the information necessary when making decisions.

You need to know who is involved in the decision-making process. You need to have an understanding of what’s important for their business and be able to appeal that way.

To be successful in business-to-business sales, you need to have all the pieces of a puzzle. So make sure that your company is focused on what and who they are hiring.

One of the reasons people struggle with sales teams is because they don’t know enough about their prospects and what will motivate them.

Don’t just rely on the numbers. Sometimes, some deals are done despite the salesperson’s performance.

There’s always something you can do to improve on your process or learn more about how to help your buyers.

The 5 Things You Can Do to Help through Buyer Enablement

Now that you know how much of a headache it is for the buyer, what are you doing to help them?

When it comes to product differentiation, two-thirds of prospects are more likely to buy from companies with a good buyer experience. It’s important that you help your buyers.

High-performance selling is not as difficult as you may think, but it does take a bit of work. No one said success was easy.

Today’s sales world is all about buyer enablement, and 5 steps are involved in this process.

buyer enablement

#1: Create a buying committee for your prospect.

When I first began hiring salespeople, it was a surprise that many companies didn’t map out who the buying committee is. They would just assume that because there were only one or two people involved in purchasing decisions, they could easily close deals.

When you know the people involved in the deal, it’s easier to navigate through obstacles and build relationships with clients.

For most salespeople, it is when they realize how little they know about the buyer and what their knowledge gaps are.

If you don’t have a tool that helps you do this, I recommend using PowerPoint to map out your information. It might take some extra time and effort but it is worth the investment if it means closing important or committed opportunities.

Make sure you have a clear reporting line, but also think about the information that is relevant to your situation.

  • The more you know about your contact, the stronger your relationship with them will be.
  • Their position on change
  • Their decision-making power influences the company’s decisions.
  • The person that usually has the power to make decisions about a business problem.
  • Who your internal champion is

When you uncover politics, they will be useful for the future.

  • Who are your allies influencing? Who are they being influenced by? Who are they in conflict with?
  • Who are you currently working with to help your company grow?
  • Who is influencing them?
  • Who are they in conflict with?

This may be subjective or just my opinion, but it still helps when I’m planning what to do next.

If you don’t identify, engage with and understand everyone involved in a workplace environment, it is impossible to help them.

#2: Create a flowchart of your customer’s purchasing process.

The first step is to figure out when the decision date will be. It’s not always right, but most of the time it’s wrong.

Look at five of your successful deals. Ask your customers what had to happen in order for them to place an order with you.

The roles of the people involved should be considered, including their responsibilities.

You now know what your customer’s buying process is. This will help with accurate forecasting and knowing how to best satisfy the customer.

#3: Support your Champion

It is essential to have somebody on the inside who is a champion. They are necessary for good sales engagement.

The most important thing when it comes to your competition is the status quo, and you need a champion in order to fight against that.

Don’t just let your champion do all of the work. Help them by empowering them.

  • My advice for you is to identify objections that could come up and how your champion should answer them.
  • To get the ball rolling, let’s discuss some questions they can ask internally.
  • Make sure you involve the right people and explain why it’s necessary.
  • Give them the information they need to make a decision about buying your product.
  • Have a diverse group of people on your team to bring new ideas.

Have someone inside the company that is a champion for you before you start looking externally. That way they can stand up to people who might not want your candidacy in meetings, and they’ll be rewarded with having an external candidate.

#4: Collaborate with your buyer committee

Collaboration and facilitation is a great way for sales to make things happen.

The buying process is often difficult. So, a good experience can help you stand out and reach your decision maker.

Share with prospects your experience working on similar projects to help them visualize the benefits of hiring you.

One way to do this is by using a Mutual Action Plan, which can be called different things.

If you don’t have a tool to put one together, then Excel or Word is the best option. This will be an evolving document that can be shared with both teams.

If your prospect has a fixed project completion date, and you know what needs to be done by when and who should do it, make sure they’ve mapped out all the milestones.

These milestones should be part of the process from start to finish. This shows your commitment and will help you meet customer expectations.

If you don’t know the name of the contact responsible for each milestone, just put in something like “general manager” or “salesperson”.

It is a bit basic and simple, but your prospects will appreciate the help you’re giving them. You are helping them to complete their projects.

#5: Review your performance

When it comes to sales, most teams are very self-centered. They have a hard time understanding what the customer wants and needs.

To become a buying enabler or facilitator, salespeople need to change their behavior and evolve.

When you buy something, the seller is often resistant to change. This irony makes buying so much more difficult.

No matter what the outcome, they’re all great opportunities to learn and grow.

People like to know they’ve been helpful and insightful, so try asking them a few questions about their experience. You could ask how it went or if there was anything you could have done better.

Buyers will be more receptive to your questions, and you can get the professional development plans that are right for you.

Buyer Enablement Is the Key

In today’s competitive sales world, it’s important to have a process in place that will help you win the deal. For this step, buyer enablement is key.

Selling to people is one way of making a sale, but the best salespeople want to help and solve their problems. If you do this well, your customers will be more likely to come back again later for future purchases.


Need Help Automating Your Sales Prospecting Process?

LeadFuze gives you all the data you need to find ideal leads, including full contact information.

Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following: 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year
Just to give you an idea. 😀
Editors Note:

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Justin McGill
About Author: Justin McGill
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