Buyers now dictate the buying process.
This isn’t new information. But what does it mean for today’s sales and marketing organizations?
How can you adapt your sales process to be more in line with your prospect’s buying process?
There are many questions that sales and marketing professionals have to find answers to in today’s market.
One of the challenges uncovered in a recent Hubspot research project is the disconnect between what prospects want to hear in the various stages of their buying process versus what sales and marketing are giving them.
According to their research, Hubspot found that 58% of buyers said they want to discuss pricing during their first sales call. That’s compared to only 23% of salespeople who are prepared to discuss pricing during a first sales call.
If your company is like ours, we are a very solutions-based company, and most of the time you don’t have enough information from a prospective buyer to provide them with a price. So these expectations are unrealistic. Unfortunately, it is the buyer’s expectation.
How can you avoid this challenge?
One of the best strategies for reducing this situation is to provide the prospective buyer with the proper quantity and quality of information so that these potential buyers can gather the information they need in the earlier stages of their buying process.
Then make sure to let them know that the information is available to them and how to retrieve that information. This will reduce the situation of having a “sales call” before the prospective buyer is ready to have it.
It all comes down to the buying process stages and providing highly relevant and personalized information for your prospective buyers at each of these stages.
- Awareness: This is when a buyer becomes “aware” that there is a need within their company that needs fixing.
- Consideration: This is the research stage when the buyer is researching all of the potential solutions and partners that might be able to provide a solution for their situation.
- Decision: As the name implies, this stage is when the buyer makes the decision to move forward with a particular partner and their solution.
Depending on your industry, you may have more stages in the buyer’s journey; however, the three above are in every buyer’s decision process.
It’s also important to recognize that this buyer journey isn’t linear. B2B buying is messy. They will often go from awareness to consideration and then back to awareness again when they get more information about their company’s situation.
All of this bouncing back and forth makes the buyer’s job more difficult and time-consuming. If you can provide them with the right information at the right time, your chance of becoming a “valued partner” as opposed to just a vendor will increase.
In fact, a report by Gartner found that companies that provide this valuable information at the right time were 2.8 times more likely to experience a high level of partnership than those that don’t.
The challenge? How to pull this off. How do you know when a potential buyer is going from the awareness stage to the consideration stage?
Lead scoring is the process of ranking leads based on where they are in the sales-ready lead process. The scoring is based on the buyer’s behaviors. Those behaviors then help determine the buyer’s sales-ready lead position.
Here’s an example. Let’s say that you have some gated content like a white paper or maybe a spec sheet on one of your products. On the form that your website visitor has to fill out to get that gated content, you have a field for their phone number.
In this example, someone who fills in their phone number would get a higher score than someone who doesn’t fill in their phone number. The behavior of filling in a phone number identifies someone who is more open to a conversation than someone who doesn’t fill in their phone number.
This is a highly simplistic example but shows how you can use lead scoring to know when to send them information and what type of information to send them to set up a proactive lead nurturing system.
There are a lot of different ways to score leads that are all based on your company’s best customer profile. The ultimate benefit to lead scoring is not contacting a prospective buyer before they are ready and giving them enough relevant information (nurture), in the space of time before they are prepared to talk with sales, to provide them with the information they need.
Lead scoring, when parred with marketing automation, makes an extremely useful tool that will deliver sales-ready leads, reduce prospective buyers from ghosting the sales team, and will actually make the sales team’s jobs easier!