Just as businesses were navigating the new era of digital transformation, the COVID-19 pandemic has created even more urgency to create new efficiencies, become more agile and cut costs. More than ever enterprise buyers are looking to software and IT solutions to help them achieve these objectives. While this environment should be a utopia for sales reps, the enterprise buyer’s journey is still riddled with challenges. Understanding these frustrations is key to both helping the buyer overcome them and equipping your sales team with the tools they need to ease the pain points within the sales process.
What are the main frustrations reported by large enterprise buyers? Buyers have a high level of confusion and complexity within the sales process. We’ve compiled four key challenges that contribute to those feelings of frustration.
Sales reps must be flexible, adapting their approach with each customer. Every business prospect is different. Their pain points vary. Their challenges are unique. A major source of buyer frustration is Making assumptions about what a business needs . This frustration is so common that Forrester reports 59 percent of B2B buyers do their own research online to avoid interacting with sales reps. Why? “They feel reps push their own sales agendas instead of actually listening to the buyer and finding a solution that solves their unique problem.”
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Sales reps must be flexible not only in their approach but in how they gather information about a prospect. The questioning phase is critical to understanding what a prospect is looking for in a product, in addition to establishing a rapport and professional relationship. Many sales reps make the mistake of using the same questioning strategy for all potential customers based on their own communication style. The key to flexibility is to quickly identify the buyer’s personality style, and adapt the sales approach to it.
For example, when talking to a buyer that has a “dominance” style, the sales rep will want to ask direct questions, avoid too many details, and focus on the bottom line. In turn, when speaking with a buyer that has a “steadiness” style, the rep will want to take time to explain things thoroughly, asking questions in a methodical manner. Become more flexible in the way you gather information, and quickly adapt your pitch to fit the customer’s style and needs.
2. Lack of Specific Information
You might be wondering, “How can there be a lack of information?” We’re not talking about quantity. We’re referring to quality. Buyers find it really difficult to find specific information about what they are looking for. In one Gartner survey, 50 percent of respondents said they have difficulty finding specific information, and 40 percent said it’s hard to compare products side-by-side.
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Buyers try to collect data both internally and externally. However, vendors tend to omit details, thinking people don’t have time to read details, or “they try to overprotect information,” says Gartner. They describe this action as “gating useful content.” For example, do you have useful case studies that require prospects to register before they can view it? Why guard this information when it may frustrate and push buyers away? Instead, contribute to their fact-finding mission. Offer as much free information as possible.
With a lack of information, the buyer’s journey becomes complicated because they cannot compare their options. Every vendor makes a different claim, and buyers lack the knowledge to hone in on the benefits that really should matter to them. The search simply becomes overwhelming.
Sales teams must use the buyer’s search to their advantage. Create a content library that covers your target audience’s most common questions. Know your audience well, so that you can address different questions based on where the buyer is on his or her journey. Provide quality content to relieve the frustration they have over lack of information.
Feeling pressure to make a decision is another top frustration of buyers. All three of the other challenges identified in the Gartner survey relate to the impatience of the sales rep. They were:
- Getting pushed to buy when just learning. (49%)
- Too much follow-up outreach (42%)
- Forced to register before seeing if information is relevant (39 %)
Sales reps must recognize that the B2B buying process can be up to six to 12 months. Enterprise buyers have a process of identifying pain points, investigating solutions, and gaining the approval of upper management. Especially in a time of economic uncertainty, this process can be slow. Pushing buyers to speed up their process highlights that your sales reps do not understand where the buyer is in their process.
4. The Digital/Human Balance is Off
Digital self-service solutions have allowed B2B sellers to greatly increase their efficiency. However, relying too much on digital solutions can lead to a frustrated buyer who can’t find the information they are seeking. There is a huge need for B2B sellers to balance the human and digital aspects of the journey.
There is definitely a place for AI chatbots, virtual assistants, and portals. “There must be an equal commitment to quality human-to-human interaction experiences,” notes CMS Wire. Too much digital is a “trap that is turning the B2B buyer experience into an ‘either/or’ decision.” An integrated balance means knowing how to make self-service technologies work for your organization while providing a framework that ensures customers (and prospects) have access to expert human salespeople.