Do You Know What Your Business Customer Buying Behavior Really Is?
The internet is a leading contributor to change in business customer buying behavior – in a big way. While it’s possible to keep sales alive relying on old models, the struggle to connect is going to continue declining without a fresh approach. Benefits to switching up your sales methods are clear in today’s market, with an average 20 percent increase in generating leads and a reduction in the amount of time it takes to close a deal.
Stop leaving money on the table. Dive into a new method of making sales by discovering what drives the decisions of today’s business buyers.
The Key to Uncovering Business Customer Buying Behavior
While business clients are becoming more like their consumer counterparts regarding sales, they’re not the same. If there’s one rule for all industries to follow, it is to expect the process to be more complicated than before.
From mom and pop operations to larger, international corporations, different segments have different sales journeys. New methods often go farther for less investment than common methods of the past.
Breaking your customers down into groups is the first step in determining what has the biggest impact. Segmenting allows you to pinpoint your customers’ journeys. Research shows two-thirds of deals fall through before they reach the request for proposals (RFP) stage. Adjusting touchpoints can salvage those sales and boost your bottom line.
How do you determine a segment’s sales journey? It depends on the group. Big Data has paved the way for creating an intuitive sales process that guides customers without them even knowing, but it requires a massive amount of intel. Sometimes, it takes a dedicated sales member with the ability to walk through the process – not just hear about how it should go.
Which customers should you focus on first? Follow the money.
Start with the Numbers
Executives make assumptions every day, all the time. Those mistakes cost their companies big money. One of the most common is assuming who their most profitable clients are instead of looking at the numbers.
Again, this is a throwback to “the way things used to be.” In the past, one segment might have outshone the rest on paper, but today’s digital age is changing more than attitudes. The way companies earn profits are changing too, so base your marketing decisions on the figures. Find out who is making the most money for your company and study the way they make purchases. Unless you double-check those figures, you could be pouring money into marketing that doesn’t really work.
Stop investing in what used to work. Make certain your efforts – and your dollars – focus on your customers’ current needs. Companies complacent to live in the past completely miss the opportunity to get the competitive edge in today’s world.
Identify your top performers first. Learn more about their needs and preferences. Follow the data to find out who is weighing in on decisions and uncover the most important parts of their purchasing journeys. Tailor your marketing and sales activities to nurture those behaviors – and prepare for the backlash from your team.
Business Customer Buying Behavior: Create a Team Approach
Asking your sales team to trust new methods can be a tough sell. They know what is currently working. It will take time to trust alternative processes. This is especially true once they realize how much they’ll be working with your marketing team.
In general, B2B customers require six points of contact before making a sale. These are six separate experiences that encourage their progression along the sale journey. The digital impact is growing every day, with email, social media marketing and on-demand interactive experiences playing important roles. Marketing and sales teams need to be able to work together from the first step all the way through the sales process.
For instance, if you discover your most profitable customer segment relies more on supplier recommendations than on product specs, your marketing team can focus on sharing information with – and your sales team can begin to nurture relationships with – suppliers in your industry.
Resistance to change is especially common in organizations where the sales team receives fringe benefits in the process of building relationships with customers. Wining and dining, travel, and entry to major events is an incentive to customer and employee alike. Your sales staff might not want to give up the perks of the job, so it’s important to show them how the new changes will impact their bottom lines.
Contact our friendly team of experts at Loyaltyworks to discover new, inventive ways to connect with clients based on their unique business customer buying behavior.