3 reasons why happy customers are better at selling than your sales team Prospective buyers hate pushy sales people, particularly when they interrupt them at the wrong time. It’s always the wrong time. They hate sales people even more when they just talk about their products and don’t take the time to understand their business and listen to their challenges. Overall, sales people have a bad rep and B2B buyers want to keep them at arms-length until they really need them.
In the digital age, information symmetry (the easy availability of detailed product information and customer opinions) means that buyers don’t rely on salespeople as much as they once did. Research from CEB shows that B2B buyers are 57% of the way through their purchase process before they want to engage directly with a salesperson. Before that point, they’re in stealth mode. They don’t want to be bothered. During this phase, they want access to rich information, but at the same time they want to maintain anonymity. They want to prevent interruptions from sales emails and sales calls that happen just moments after they sign up to access some gated content. This is why marketers get shouted at by sales teams for providing “mickey mouse” leads; they’re genuine buyers doing real research, but the sales people don’t get the contact details they need to follow them up.
So here’s the challenge for B2B companies; prospective customers don’t want to be bothered by sales people when they’re in discovery mode, but you want to make sure they know about your brand and your products early in their purchase process. If a prospective customer gets half way through their process and they’ve still never heard of you,
you’ve got a lot of catching up to do. Hands up everybody who’s been on the receiving end of this question: “Why didn’t we know about this opportunity until now?” It’s painful, but all too frequent. Prospective buyers are getting very good at hiding their intentions until they want them to be known.
If your sales cycle begins 57% of the way through a prospect’s buying cycle, then you’re lagging behind. So how can you get your organization in front of customers earlier in the buying process? Content marketing is one strategy — publishing consultative content to provide value to prospects without the hard-sell that puts prospects off when they’re
in research mode. Customer advocacy is another. Business buyers hide their needs and intentions from salespeople, but not from their peers.
CUSTOMERS CAN REACH PROSPECTS YOUR SALES
PEOPLE CAN’T While business professionals actively throw up barriers to prevent sales people from bothering them, they don’t screen conversations with their peers. In fact, they want to have conversations with them. They’ll pay thousands of dollars and travel across the world to network with peers because they trust them (83% of people trust recommendations from
people they know. 66% trust customer opinions posted online).