The Four Pillars of Technology for Sales Leaders | Pillar Four: The Buyer Journey

This is the last in a series of four articles that poses the question:
What is the intersection between optimal sales leadership… and the optimal use of today’s technology?

There are, we believe, four pillars of technology that support any modern sales team. The first pillar is an accurate, constantly updated sales process. The second pillar is our sales methodology. The third is our own technologically savvy sales leadership, which aligns the sales process and the methodology and sets the team culture.

Now, it’s time to look at the final pillar – and for a lot of teams, this pillar is the easiest to overlook. It’s all about the ways that you can use your technology can support you buyer’s journey.

It’s usually pretty easy for us to think about the seller’s journey. That’s our sales process, and most of us are accustomed to thinking about that journey, simply because we already know what our own decision-making process looks like for deciding who we want to work with (and who we don’t). But what about the buyer’s decision-making process?

It’s not all about us. As sales leaders, we want to learn to take a step back and ask ourselves what the buyer’s journey looks like. We want to know what their investigative process is, what events are likely to trigger that process, and how they will typically make important decisions about what they’re going to do next.

Of course, different organizations are going to have different ways of mapping out the buyer journey. Some are going to be very sophisticated; some will be more intuitive and informal. But no matter what your approach is, no matter what the size of your company or your team is, and no matter how complex or simple your selling cycle is, you can improve your team’s efficiency by leveraging your technology to support the buyer’s journey.

Consider: Your selling process has different stages. So does the buyer’s journey. A prospective buyer in, the first stage of that journey is likely to be preoccupied with certain questions that you and your team can learn to predict – and be ready to address. Not only that – there’s going to be a backstory. That same prospective buyer is going to have gone down certain predictable roads by the time they get to the first stage of the journey. Your team should understand what twists and turns those roads were likely to have presented, and what challenges and expectations the buyer is likely to have as a result. In other words, if you’re not well briefed about the typical backstory that connects to each buyer stage, you’re at a market disadvantage.

Once you have a deep understanding of your buyer’s journey, you can use technology to give your team a much better chance of meeting the buyer where they are. This is important, because where the buyer is at that moment is where all the best discussions happen.

So – what kind of information should your team members, as sellers, have readily available for buyers at any given stage of their journey? What types of facts and figures do buyers at that stage typically need to see? Which white papers? Which articles? What pressing problems are those buyers most likely to be grappling with? What options are they likely to have already explored? What white papers are they most likely to want to download from your website? What third-party stories are going to be most relevant to their world? You really can identify all of this information ahead of time – and use your CRM (or whatever internal system your team uses) to make sure the right buyer-focused information is easily accessible at the right time. Your technology needs to empower both your salespeople and your prospective buyers to take part in conversations that connect the dots and uncover the truth.

Remember: Buyers want different things at different stages of their journey.
It’s your responsibility as sales leader to map out all the touch points and deploy all the relevant messaging and resources for each touch points. Most sales team do not do this. They don’t to make it easy for buyers at a certain point in the journey to welcome the chance to have a conversation with someone on the sales team.

Is this mapping and deploying process easy? Maybe not at first. That’s because we’re accustomed to viewing the sales process from the perspective of the seller. But if we can flip that around and start thinking about the buying process from the perspective of the buyer, and leveraging our technology accordingly, we’re going to create a significant competitive advantage for our team and our organization.

Once you get into the habit of supporting your sales team by making good technology choices for each of these four critical pillars – sales process, sales methodology, leadership, and buyer journey – you’re going to find that you’ve created a well-oiled machine. Your team really can be the kind of machine that compresses sales cycles, creates more repeat business, and claims greater annual market share. Just understand that designing and running that machine means stepping up as the kind of leader who creates a steady stream of best practices for the team – and who is committed to becoming more of a scientist than an artist when it comes to aligning all of those best practices with the buyer journey.

For help in getting a clearer sense of your buyer’s journey, or in strengthening any of the other pillars we’ve been discussing, contact us.

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