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At a time when customers are more self-reliant than ever before, conducting 67% of their buying journey online*, it’s no wonder leading sales organizations are becoming increasingly and obsessively buyer-centric.

The more you know about buyer enablement, the more you understand it not as just another strategy, but as a core value that must permeate every aspect of your sales and marketing culture. In each of your marketing and sales initiatives, these are specific steps you can take to instill this value:

Hiring Marketers:

  • Target candidates with demonstrable success in understanding and marketing to specific customer segments and personas.
  • During interviews, ask what kinds of research and information they have used to inform successful marketing campaigns. Look for a commitment to understanding buyers.
  • In job postings, seek candidates who are active in social media, have a sphere of influence, and have an interest in inbound as well as outbound marketing.

Hiring Sales Representatives:

  • Focus on sales skills that align with developing a deep knowledge of the buyer.
  • During interviews, ask about personality traits that make them effective in developing relationships with buyers. Look for curiosity, empathy, listening and interviewing, collaboration and partnership, teaching and consulting, as well as the skills that have always distinguished the top producers like persuasiveness and influence.
  • Ask how they handled a scenario when their previous organization’s selling process wasn’t aligned with what they knew about their customer’s buying process.
  • Find out what training and information has been most instrumental in developing relationships. Look for a customer-focused, rather than product-focused answer.
  • Seek candidates who are active in social media, with a sphere of influence.

Product & Service Development:

  • Survey customers and prospects to learn about buyers’ contexts.
  • Learn about the end user and the challenges and pain points of current solutions.
  • Uncover the most critical unmet or underserved buyer needs.
  • Develop extensions of your product and service offerings that further adapt the benefits to more specific buyer personas, and solve more specific problems for each.

Outbound Marketing:

  • Rather than conventional segmentation of prospects and customers by geography and verticals, segment based on ideal buyer personas and segments, with consideration to how the leads were generated (i.e. cold-calling, content marketing, outside lists).
  • Work in conjunction with sales to know where each prospect and customer is in the buying cycle, and use content aligned to key intervals in the cycle.
  • Use buyer research to determine the right mix of upsell and cross-sell opportunities.
  • Use sales enablement technology to track user engagement with content.
  • Set activity “triggers” to determine when customers are ready for sales calls.
  • Automate notices to assigned sales reps when thresholds have been met.
  • Be transparent about results and communicate all data that advances organizational understanding of what motivates a buyer to act.

Inbound Marketing:

  • Build your social networks through all of the channels your target customers use, and deliver content through those networks that drives leads.
  • Use content marketing to generate high-quality, self-informed inbound leads.
  • Use existing sales enablement content in conjunction with content marketing. White papers, videos and webinars can help you capture strong, self-informed leads.
  • Arrange the content of your website to match the most important buyer personas.
  • Make it easy for each persona to understand your products and services in terms of WIFM (What’s in It For Me?).
  • Use short questionnaires to gather customer insights to support sales and marketing.
  • If your customers can order online, enable each persona to buy what they want, how they want, by applying buying cycle research to the online buying process.

Sales Process:

  • Build your sales process around buyer personas, and for each, the buyer’s journey.
  • Have dialogues between marketing and sales to understand the stages that buyers go through as they move through the buying cycle.
  • Learn about buyer challenges and pain points, how buyers get educated on solutions, and how they evaluate their choices.
  • Build out a content roadmap around buyer behaviors and use sales enablement technologies to drive marketing and sales activities, with customer engagement “triggers” that alert salespeople when customers have engaged with marketing content.
  • Develop a lead-scoring system that can help you allocate your strongest sales representatives to your most valuable leads.
  • Align metrics and objectives between sales and marketing so that both departments are working toward mutual objectives.

Setting Sales Performance Expectations:

  • Maintain quotas for new customer acquisitions, sales, and revenue.
  • Establish targets for advancing relationships to predetermined milestones.
  • Reward advancements in the organizational understanding of customer personas.

Sales Management:

  • Become an expert in buyer personas and the buyer’s journey.
  • Observe representatives selling and provide feedback on aligning dialogues more closely to buyer needs.
  • Streamline the sales process and remove content and dialogues that don’t advance the buyer’s journey.

Buyer enablement takes planning, but you can make quick progress with these incremental steps toward creating a buyer-centric sales and marketing culture.  To learn more, call a Bridge Metrics executive at 877.801.7158.

 

 * SiriusDecisions

About the author

Bill Carroll

President

As the President of Bridge Metrics, Bill supplies the vision of Bridge Metrics. He is a mentor and thought-leader to the Bridge Metrics team and many of our clients. An experienced entrepreneur, Bill is passionate about developing powerful web-based solutions.

He graduated from Texas A&M University

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