Jeffrey Gitomer’s blog is quite new to me. It was recommended by a friend and one of the posts I found really got me thinking:
This particular post is actually written not by Jeffrey, but by guest blogger and contributor Jay Baer. Baer recently published the New York Times bestseller “Youtility” and is a well-respected authority in the blogosphere.
The blog post talks about the shift in how people gather information about a product prior to a purchase.
Where a customer-to-be might previously have talked to a sales person as a first step, this is now often the last resort. The customer instead prefers to explore the supply of information that is available online – at their own pace.
And the gathering of information is also preferably done without the involvement of anyone from your company!
The post cites a 2013 Sirius Decisions study that found, “customers will contact a sales rep only after independently completing 70% of the purchasing decision process.“
People are doing the job themselves
So people are increasingly informing themselves on products and services before they even make contact. I see this in my own and my friends’ behaviors daily. And it’s as valid for B2B as it is in the world of consumer products.
But can the same logic apply to complex and highly configured products?
I believe so. And I believe that this is where guided selling can add real value.
Since buying decisions require a good understanding of the product – it’s crucial that you provide your customer with information that’s easy to grasp.
Think of guided selling as your marketing tool or as an interactive product data sheet – a way for your customers to play around with and explore your product before they buy, in a way that suits them.
Developing a good understanding of your product will help give customers confidence in their buying decision. And confidence in your ability to deliver the product that they want.
Providing the right information at the right time
Baer also makes some salient points about the role of sales and marketing in this process:
“The role of the salesperson is to answer specific questions capably and quickly, and to close deals that became possible due to the self-serve research performed by the customer.“
“The rise of self-serve information has equally major consequences for marketers, who need to de-emphasize thought leadership and white papers and focus more on advanced activities, such as diagnosing customer needs and identifying barriers to purchase and overcoming them with sophisticated content marketing.”
So sales must be equipped to respond to queries quickly and accurately and get high quality quotations together fast. And marketing must come closer to sales and product development to identify the information that will support the customer’s buying decision.
“Smart companies understand that providing self-serve information and giving consumers the opportunity to find answers for themselves isn’t shirking their duty as sales people and as marketers; it’s become their duty.”
Exactly! And that’s where Tacton comes in – we provide the tools that allow your customers to come closer and get a better understanding of your products — no matter how complex.