Savvy salespeople have known for a while that the tables have turned and that buyers now control the sales process. From conducting research independently to demanding timely, personalized sales and marketing content in the later stages of the buyer journey, buyers haven’t just turned the sales funnel on its head; they’ve changed the definition of success for sales teams.
These shifts are pushing sales teams to seek and use new types of solutions that provide valuable prospect and customer insights throughout the buyer journey. But sales leaders are learning that the earlier salespeople can gain visibility into buyer behavior, the more likely they are to build better, more meaningful customer experiences.
Critical data can be derived from every single touchpoint throughout the buyer journey. The real challenge, however, is enabling salespeople to access and interpret early-stage data. Solutions that provide data on how often a prospect views top-of-funnel sales and marketing content, which types of content they prefer to consume, and the devices they use to view that content can offer valuable clues to salespeople on how to guide buyers toward the next stages of the buyer journey. A salesperson who knows, for instance, that a buyer prefers to read shorter product content on a mobile device can personalize documents like proposals more quickly and easily.
Data has the potential to be powerful, but only if salespeople know what to do with it. Because 94 percent of B2B buyers conduct online research at some point in the buying process, it’s critical that once salespeople determine how to personalize the content they deliver, they also use it to connect with prospects and address their pain points.
Personalization is just the first part of enabling the buyer journey; it’s up to salespeople to demonstrate they can solve a buyer’s problem, and to develop meaningful dialogue that leads to later stages in the sales process. According to HubSpot, one of the three most important salesperson behavioral traits is knowledge–of a prospect’s needs, as well as their own product and its ability to solve problems.
Speed is of the essence for salespeople: delivering the right content quickly and being available to answer prospect questions can make the difference between closing a deal and losing to a competitor. It’s here that early visibility can make the most impact, and not just with a single buyer. Sales teams that use analytics to build accurate forecasting can use that same data to determine how certain types of buyers will behave. And when salespeople have access to that data early in the sales cycle, they can help set a path for buyers that leads to them becoming customers.
The amount of information sales teams can learn about prospects is growing, and that means the need to gain prospect visibility at the start of the buyer journey is more important than ever. Salespeople armed with the tools and insight to help prospects make the right decisions will close better deals and retain better customers.