As a B2B sales rep, you already have a good grasp on the different stages of the buying process. It is beneficial, every once in a while, to review each stage and ask if you've maximized its potential. By placing yourself in their shoes, however, you'll gain a deeper level of insight into their purchasing decisions, which may help you to convert more leads and prospects into new customers. So, what are the different stages of a typical B2B buying process?
Most B2B buying processes begin with awareness. During the awareness phase, buyers become aware of a problem that needs a solution. What does this mean exactly? It means the buyer has identified a problem within his or her own business or department that needs addressing. Most often, they will give project to someone else to begin exploring possible solutions.
The second stage of a typical B2B buying process is exploratory research. As the name suggests, this involves the buyer, or their direct report, "exploring" potential solutions for his or her problem through research. They will utilize marketing outlets such as search engines, websites, trade shows or ask others in their industry how they handle such a problem. Be sure sales and marketing are in sync with the information found in each of these marketing outlets to ensure the best results.
The third stage of a typical B2B buying process is evaluation. During the evaluation stage, buyers "evaluate" multiple solutions. On occasion, a buyer may choose the first product or service they come across during the exploratory research stage. In most B2B purchases, though, this doesn't happen. Buyers will instead evaluate multiple products or services offered by two or more B2B companies.
As with exploratory research, buyers may use any combination of online and offline channels to evaluate products or services. If a buyer is considering two products -- sold by your B2B company and another product sold by a competitor's company -- he or she may search for comparison videos on YouTube. Additionally, the buyer may ask his or her friends or coworkers about their experiences with these two products. The purpose of the evaluation stage is to compare the features and benefits of multiple products or services.
Now it's time for the buyer to make a decision. By now, the buyer should have already identified a problem within his or her own business -- and he or she should have already evaluated multiple products or services to solve this problem. Assuming a buyer has completed these steps, he or she will make a decision. In your marketing channels, have you provided great educational material in order for the potential client to want to choose your product or service? Be sure to go back and review what is being shown and said out in the marketplace to determine its saying the story you want to tell.
After the buyer has selected a product or service to purchase or further evaluate, he or she will contact the B2B company. Typically by phone or email, the buyer will reach out to the B2B company with an inquiry. Be sure to qualify what they know so you can reinforce it as well as fill in what they may not know.
Tips to Nurture Buyers Through the Buying Process
An all-too-common mistakes B2B sales reps make is neglecting to partner with marketing in order to nurture buyers through the buying process. As a sales rep, you shouldn't assume that all buyers are in the same stage of the buying process. Different buyers are in different stages, so if you treat them all the same, you probably won't generate many sales. For an effective sales strategy, you must identify the stage in which a buyer is currently located so that you can effectively nurture him or her into a customer.
You can nurture buyers through the buying process in several ways, one of which is to highlight the benefits of your B2B company's product or service. For instance, SalesLeads allows potential new users of the Project Report system by opening a complimentary account. It gives the potential customer the freedom to explore the software system and understand the quality of information they will receive. For instance, you can search project reports in various stages, size of project or by industry to name a few. The prospect can read through the description of the project and decide if this is the type of sales leads they want to get. It makes it easy for the potential customer to understand and experience the value first hand, thus moving forward to become an active customer.
Another tip to nurture buyers through the buying process is to use multiple communication channels. Statistics show that most B2B buyers prefer to use email for business-related correspondences, but that doesn't mean you should ignore other channels of communication. Many buyers, for example, still prefer to communicate with other businesses by phone, while some prefer direct email. By using multiple communication channels, you'll be able to reach more buyers on their preferred channel, which typically results in more sales.