Buyer Enablement - Creating an Unforgettable Buying Experience
The B2B buying journey is hard
As sellers, we are intimately connected to the strugglings of conducting a world class sales cycle. We’re used to tons of rejection, fielding objections left and right, and at times feeling like you can be fighting an uphill battle. While selling can be a challenge, buying a product that truly meets the needs of my organization and gaining buy-in from my team can be even more challenging.
Gartner recently found that “77% of buyers rated their purchase experience as extremely complex or difficult.” As a buyer, I need to deeply understand my own struggles as well as my organization's pains as I evaluate dozens of solutions. Not to mention, Gartner also tells us that a typical buying group involves six to 10 stakeholders, each of whom have consulted four to five sources of information that they must then deconflict together.
With the abundance of high quality information and increasing quantity of people involved in the buying process, it is more challenging than ever to align my colleagues and make a timely purchase to solve my problems. The sales organizations who think deeply about their customer’s buying experience and how they can equip their buyers with the proper information to champion their product or service, will win more deals… and faster
Buyer Enablement - Helping your buyers buy
What is Buyer Enablement?
Simply put, buyer enablement is the process of helping your buyers buy your product or service. It’s the idea that salespeople succeed when they empower their buyers with the tools and knowledge they need to purchase your product. This can include everything from helping a buyer identify gaps in their process to enabling your champion to effectively sell your product or service internally to various stakeholders.
Buyer Enablement Journey
The best way to create an unforgettable buying experience is to take the view of your customer. Think of the stages they need to go through to fully understand their problems, your product offering and effectively present it internally to get buy-in.
Though every buyer journey will be unique, in general the B2B buying process can be broken down into six main phases.
- Awareness: Buyers are aware they have some problem and are experiencing pain as a result. Buyers are focused on understanding the market, and looking for guidance on how to best solve their problem.
- Consideration: After educating themselves about org shortcomings, buyers have a clear idea of what their problem is and are beginning to understand how your solution could help solve their problems. Buyers are focused on building our future priorities and needs based upon their evaluation of the market.
- Interest: Here buyers have reached out to many different vendors to explore solution offerings. At this stage, buyers are looking for detailed information on how your solution supports their needs and how you are different from others in the marketplace.
- Preference: As soon as a buyer has completed their evaluation of the vendors, they will select a “vendor of choice”. Buyers are focused on building consensus internally, and additional stakeholders may move the deal forward and backwards along this journey until they come to an agreement.
- Validation: This step is analogous to the “reference checks” of interviews. During this stage, buyers are confirming their decisions with external validation from community groups or customer references. Buyers are looking for ROI data to support their selection and justify the purchase.
- Purchase: In this final stage, buyers are confident in their vendor choice and ready to purchase. Here, they will focus on securing the budget and finalizing the deal.
Buyer Enablement Best Practices
Map the buyer’s journey -
To build the best buyer enablement program, you have to put the buyers needs first and think from their perspective. Who will they have to sell your product to internally? Their manager, C Suite, subordinates, legal, IT, it goes on and on.
A great place to start is by mapping out what you think your buyer’s process is and the different people that might be involved. Think deeply about the questions your buyer might be asked as they move through their stages. Documenting these questions will help you create content that will help a buyer as they discuss it internally.
From there, you can align the buyer’s journey with the stages of the sales cycle and the internal personas involved. This can help you create alignment between departments, internally, and swiftly move through your own internal selling processes.
Remember, every interaction you have with a buyer is a reflection of how their life will be using your product and with you as their vendor. Help your buyers buy.
Buyer Enablement Content -
Mapping the content to the buyer’s journey and the personas involved. Gartner put together some design best practices when it comes to buyer enablement content.
As you build out your buyer enablement content and map it to the various stages of the buying cycle, keep in mind the principles above. I put a few examples of different buyer enablement content that you could create and where it may fit into the buying cycle. Also a bit more info on how to create great content here.
- Awareness: This buyer enablement content will typically help with brand awareness and be used to educate buyers of potential problems in their current workflows.
- Marketing Videos
- Blog posts
- Consideration: This buyer enablement content is meant to be geared towards an educated buyer and working to bring confidence and credibility to a solution.
- One Pagers
- Customer Quotes/Videos
- Case Studies
- Interest: This buyer enablement content is utilized after a buyer has engaged with a seller and/or product. A buyer will have more information about the market and options available so content with specifics about the product, implementation process, etc can be helpful.
- Product videos
- Mutual Action Plans/Joint Execution Plans
- Competitive differentiators
- Preference: This buyer enablement content is to help a buyer with explaining your product or service internally to various departments involved in procurement.
- Demo recordings
- Sales Decks
- Security Documentation
- Onboarding Documentation
- Validation: This buyer enablement content is typically presented later in the buying cycle and will serve to justify the costs and prove results achieved with similar customers.
- Business value case
- ROI Calculators
- “Like” customer references
- Purchase: This buyer enablement content is mostly the paperwork required to complete your business agreement and payment structure.
- Order forms
Buyer Enablement Tools
Document Sharing (Buyer Enablement Tools)
- Google Drive
Mutual Action Plans (Buyer Enablement Tools)
- Google Sheets/Docs
Scheduling (Buyer Enablement Tools)
Video Sharing (Buyer Enablement Tools)
Information drives purchase ease and high quality sales
Gartner research found that customers who perceived the information they received from suppliers to be helpful in advancing across their buying jobs were 2.8 times more likely to experience a high degree of purchase ease, and three times more likely to buy a bigger deal with less regret.
The bottom line: The B2B SaaS buying and selling landscape is changing. Organizations need to be completely focused on the experience their customers go through and create processes that enable them to make a quick decision, easily. If you equip them with more relevant information at the right time in their buying process, you’ll win more deals… faster.