Repeat after me:
"The customer has all of the control."
"I embrace this fact."
It’s official, the days of caveat emptor (buyer beware) are now over, and caveat vendit (seller beware) is the rule of law. And while most leaders and executives acknowledge this intellectually, they’re still fighting it emotionally.
Chief among my concerns is the increasing focus on the idea of sales enablement strategies, technologies, and tools. The idea behind this is a noble one.
The goal is to increase the efficiency of your sales efforts, and lord knows that the life of a salesperson is complex and chaotic enough, that any help has to be a good idea. While the idea is good, the focus is the problem.
Rather than focusing on sales enablement, we should be focusing on buyer enablement. While I realize that this may sound like I’m playing with semantics, the difference in focus is quite real. The fundamental inefficiency and barrier to making faster, more profitable sales is the resistance to view the world through your buyer’s eyes.
The question driving your thinking shouldn’t be, “How can we make it simpler, easier and more efficient for our salespeople to sell?” Instead it should be, “How can we make it simpler, easier and more efficient for our customers and prospects to buy from us?”
When the answer to that question is clear, you can then map your sales process to align and implement a win-win approach.
4 Components to Effective Buyer Enablement
Two years ago we released an eBook called “The 7 Steps to Achieving Effortless Growth.” While the book wasn’t about buyer enablement, per se, the lessons in the book produce the same result.
There are four components that we share in the book that are particularly important if you want to enhance your B2B sales process to make it easier for your target market to understand:
- Who you are.
- What you do.
- Why it matters.
1) Clearly define your market and the buyer personas you are focused on.
If buyer enablement is your goal, you can’t merely pay lip service to it. It requires that you do the hard, headache-inducing work of defining your target market clearly.
Clearly defining your market means more than creating your ideal client/customer profile. It means defining the personas with those targets that will influence the decision, and to map the journey of your prospects. Buyers get frustrated ignore your message when it doesn’t fit their context.
If you want to get a jump-start on that, you can review this post on developing buyer personas, you can download our workbook on Understanding Your Customer, and you can download our quick tip and worksheet.
2) Move the focus away from your solutions to the problem you solve
As I’ve said before, your solution is not your customer’s problem. When you’re talking about your solution, you’re using your language and seeing the world through your eyes.
When you’re focused on the problem you solve, you’re using their language and speaking to their world.
3) Understand (& Embrace) the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT)
Depending upon the industry you’re in, or the research you’re looking at, your customer/prospect is conducting 50 – 90% of the buying process without your presence. This is the Zero Moment of Truth – and if you haven’t transformed your sales and marketing approach to compete and win there, you’re losing business.
4) Stop Selling!
Stop training your salespeople to sell. By the time your customer/prospect is ready to talk to you, it’s too late for consultative selling or solution selling. The time for your consultative approach occurred in the ZMOT.
Instead of sales training, give your salespeople business training. Teach them to be businesspeople-who-sell. This means focusing on business acumen, and the ability to trace symptoms and concerns to causes.
Your customers and prospects don’t want to talk to salespeople. They’re looking for those who can add real value to their business, teach them, and tailor the presentation to the customer’s unique needs.