I recently keynoted at a conference presenting: How to Scale Your Sales with Frictionless Selling. Scale Your Sales with Frictionless Selling is an approach that removes barriers to buyers’ buying. In a complex world, your ability to develop simplicity and ease are your benchmarks for success.
It is necessary to stand in your buyers’ shoes to create a frictionless experience for your buyers. To understand and anticipate a need, you must understand the drivers of the need and the outcome the buyer and the business want to achieve.
The problem is seller jump into solution mode long before first understanding the buyer’s perspective and secondly understanding the business drivers of the need. This creates frustration for the buyer which creates friction.
One of the examples I gave to help put my audience of the sellers, in the buyers’ shoes was the experience of needing to solve a problem and speaking to a suppler service rep to explain the problem and then being transferred to another in-company specialist and having to explain the problem all over again. How frustrating is that! The audience agreed and nodded that they too had experienced this many times.
So, what happens if you ask a buyer a question that, had you conducted your research, they expect you to know? I asked my audience if this was a similar frustration to the one they had endured.
What if the buyer had conducted their research into a solution and wanted a specific piece of information and you gave them your extensive product information and features, so now they had to wade through to find one specific thing. I asked my audience, whether this be equally frustrating?
What if the buyer asked about performance and you returned with ROI, however, the buyer was fielding a request from the tech team and not finance, what they really wanted was about integration performance? Would it be frustrating for the buyer to have to come back with a request for more information or to go to another for this data?
3 Reasons your Current Process Creates Friction and Barriers to Buyers’ Buying.
First, buyers are no longer willing or interested in spending time with sellers answering questions that lead you to the supplier’s solution. Buyers know most of the answers and do not want to waste their limited time bringing you up to speed with little known pay-off.
Second, Most B2B sales and marketing teams work with a linear process, and the serial manner has been outdated for many years and remains relatively unchallenged. With marketing and digital engagement, then the sales and targeted seller interaction. This interaction has centred on progressing the buyer along this journey. The only update in the sequential selling process has been to align metrics and data. Even incentives and reporting structures to handoff from digital to human selling are not as efficient as many buyer self-service alternatives. The handoff is cumbersome and not personalised enough to satisfy the human need for connection.
Third, the pandemic has fractured established supply chains and increased economic volatility; companies are risk-averse and consequently have bigger and slower decision-making units. The process has not adapted to meet the need of the variety of stakeholders that are at different stages of the buying process.
Suppliers are not engaging and selling the way many buyers and customers prefer to buy, which creates friction. Modern sales professionals and teams must adapt by enabling seamless customers experiences.
To do this you must understand your buyers so well to be able to stand in their shoes and see the world from their perspective. According to research by Scott Berinato’s Harvard Business Review article, this is not as easy as you might think.
Berinato’s tests show, the more empathetic you are the more, the more you project your own preferences and will ignore objective data and find data to support your views.
The article recommends awareness of your bias and a collaborative approach, to gain feedback from others to test your objectivity.
Through quantitative business and market sensing research, discovery questions and answers, and qualitative objective testing with colleagues, and external stakeholders, you are in the best position to apply the frictionless selling process.
In my Keynote, I went on to talk about the 4-Step Strategy to Frictionless Selling:
- Enabling buyers to buy through a customer-first selling and strategic intent to customer-centricity.
- Enabling sales professionals and teams to spend more time selling, focusing on key customers.
- Aligning your selling process with your customer’s buying journey to improve service excellence.
- Transforming your sales revenue through a customer-centric leadership and ecosystem.
In my next article, I will elaborate on each of the 4-steps to frictionless selling.
Do you agree with Berinato’s observations?
Can you add more barriers to buyer buying?