Let’s discuss the 4-step strategy for the frictionless selling process in more detail.
What is your intention when you step into a sales conversation? Is it to hit your quota or to empower your customer?
Sellers must step into a sales conversation to empower the customer to overcome an issue rather than sell a product; it will set the tone of the ongoing discussion. Frictionless selling is when customer-centric sales professionals are willing to walk away from a deal that is not in the customer’s best interest or if they cannot empower the customer’s organisation to make the necessary changes to obtain the required results. Using the sales professional’s expertise and honest know-how, buyers benefit when you have a guiding influence through an outcome-focused path or an efficient process to solve their particular problem.
Daniel H Pink, in his book, To Sell is Human, states that salespeople benefit from asking two crucial questions:
Will the purchase improve the buyer’s life?
Will the world be a better place following your interaction?
Suppose the answer to either of these questions is NO! Daniel Pink says you are not embodying a customer-centric approach to sales.
Even in a B2B environment, it is a human-to-human experience and decision. Buyers must solve problems that create personal stress, frustration, and friction, so does your solution solve or reduce these personal drivers?
- Enabling buyers to buy through customer-first selling with the strategic intent of customer-centricity.
- Enabling sales professionals 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.
Let’s get started on the 4-step strategy for frictionless selling.
Enabling buyers to buy through customer-first selling with the strategic intent of customer-centricity.
Scale Your Sales Attraction Framework is to Engage, Educate and Elevate. This aligns with the strategic intent of differentiating value customer outcomes with excellent experiences and relevant revenue-generating activities. When you prioritise the entire service experience from prospect, buyer, and customer experience, you can integrate sales with every aspect within the supply company, from customer-centric marketing to product development and sales enablement and customer support.
Instead of upselling a customer, Pink says, instead up-serve the buyer. Do not increase what they can do for you but elevate what you can do for them.
A customer-centric company creates products, processes, policies, and a culture designed to engage buyers and customers with a great experience from discovery to purchase and acceleration.
Too often, we think of customer experience starts when the customer is already a customer. The experience you create begins long before and is an essential part of the buyer’s journey. It is critical to connect the company culture to the expected customer experience and customer outcomes. Employees are motivated by customer-centric policies and practices, seeing that their actions create happy customer experiences and business outcomes.
Enabling sales professionals to spend more time selling, focusing on key customers.
The Scale Your Sales Productivity Framework helps you focus on the customers that provide the greatest return in value, tracking your customer lifetime value. You can spend more time selling relevant value that allows your buyers to move seamlessly forward in their buying journey and to their stated customer outcomes.
Buyer’s today are not actually spending their time buying! The Gartner research pre-pandemic survey of 750 B2B customer stakeholders involved in complex “solutions” purchases reported that only 17% of their total buying time interacting directly with supplier sales teams. Their purchasing time is spent on independent learning online (27%), independent learning offline (18%), and building consensus across a wide range of internal 22% and partner 11% stakeholders.
In today’s typical B2B buying journey, there is very little surface time for supplier sales teams and actual selling.
The suppliers have forced this situation on buyers, who are tired of sellers wasting their time with inconsequential solutions. Buyers now must research the supplier and negotiate the purchasing operation. They simply do not have time to waste and cannot trust a seller without cross-checking the information.
Consequently, the typical B2B buying journey leaves suppliers’ sales teams with less than 5% of buyer surface time across all solution providers.
Speed of response creates a first-mover advantage and opportunity!
B2B buyers say the bulk of their research, outreach, and evaluation involved in purchasing occurs during the first three months of the sales cycle. In addition, 41% say their companies frequently accelerate or hold off purchases due to rapidly changing business priorities. The reality is it’s a go-no-go scenario.
Still, two-thirds of B2B buyers say the timeliness of a supplier’s response to inquiries is critical in buying. Even if prospective customers are dragging their feet, you must be on message with content tailored to each buyer’s needs, industry, preferences, and challenges.
The best way to cultivate more customer value is to create a relentless focus on your most valued and key customers as individuals. You need to be close enough and understand your key customer to anticipate market challenges and opportunities.
Aligning your selling process with your customer’s buying journey to improve service excellence.
Scale Your Sales Framework helps you map the buyer journey and retrofit your sales process to your key and most valued customer preferences.
The Demand Gen Report, B2B Buyers Survey revealed between 1 and 6 stakeholder buyers involved in the purchase process at 79% of surveyed companies. And 44% had formal buying committees; hence, the B2B sales cycle is lengthening.
The B2B buying process is not a linear journey but a dynamic journey conducted by many stakeholders with different perspectives on their current and future situations. If you approach the buying process as linear, you will appropriately hit one but miss the other five stakeholders. A 20% conversion rate is not high enough to get traction within the buying committee to gain consensus.
Within the buying committee, some opinions matter more than others; the virtual and remote work teams, the market and legislative changes and the great resignation; hence, the friction within the buying operation has increased.
B2B buyers now rely on digital information to progress throughout their buying journey. In a survey of over 1,000 B2B buyers engaged in a complex purchase, respondents reported using digital channels, particularly the supplier’s website, as much as the supplier’s sales reps, to gather the necessary information to complete a range of buying jobs across the business the entire buying journey.
Information is readily available online; sales professionals are no longer the channel to customers but are one of many channels to customers. It is the buying job that needs to be done, and how easy it is to do it through the company or competitor website or the sales rep that must be better aligned.
How easy can you make your buyers experience a better learning process?
Like water finds the easiest route, your buyer will too. Make the sales rep’s selling route the most effortless experience, the most relevant and pleasurable experience for the buyer; make it the experience they prefer to take.
Transforming your sales revenue through a customer-centric leadership and ecosystem.
The selling process must become a guiding and coordinating process through an interchangeable digital and sales rep ecosystem that helps the customer to understand the difference and nuances often lost on digital alone. This intelligent ecosystem critically coordinates individual junctures that lead to better decision-making.
Gearing your frictionless selling ecosystem to the buyer experience and customer preferences is not a sales function; it is a fundamental customer-centric organisational requirement.
I will explore this subject further in the following article because this is a subject, I believe enterprising companies must lean into, which I will further elaborate on.