Sellers have a greater opportunity than ever to become a trusted advisor to their buyers.
In a recent Gartner Inc. research report, “Redefining the High-Performing Seller for the Information Era,” 89% of the more than 1,000 B2B buyers surveyed indicated that they found information encountered during a buying cycle high-quality — but the abundance of quality information ultimately hindered their decisions and trust of the information, leading to a smaller action that would have less disruption than originally planned.
Gartner is referring to its new selling insight as a “Sense Making” revolution, something I discussed in this previous article.
But how can sellers put this information into practice? What exactly is sense-making — and what do buyers need made sense of most?
Sellers Should Identify and Make Buyers’ Pains Clear
The No. 1 thing buyers need clarity on are their pains. Where are the areas in their business that are keeping them from growth and success? What is harming their process, their customer experience, their mission? What are they missing that will help them do even better?
CSO Insights released a study of 500 enterprise buyers where buyers identified the conversation topics they want to explore with sellers. Specifically it was when a business challenge is:
- New for the buyer (34.1%)
- Perceived as risky for the organization (21.1%)
- Perceived as risky for the buyer themselves (19.1%)
- Complex (e.g., impacted several departments) (16.2%)
One of the hardest things for buyers is to break out of a status quo, even if harmful. But if they have already reached out to your selling organization that means they are looking for answers on what exactly it is that is going wrong or, more so, what could go even better.
It is up to salespeople to listen intently, to ask the right questions and to provide a thoughtful analysis of the buyer’s pains.
This conversation may be difficult. It may feel the unpopular act to point out issues and shortcomings. But this honesty and insight will help buyers make the sense they need to move forward in their decision-making process.
Sellers Should Make Sense of Buyers’ Solution Options
If, according to Gartner’s recent research, the large majority of sellers are promoting high-quality content with differing messages — which should your buyer believe to be true?
When a seller has already listened to and helped the buyer understand their pains, they have established a strong foundation of trust and confidence.
To take that relationship a step further means more sense-making commitment and honesty.
Avoid focusing just on your solutions and their benefits, and rather talk about the spectrum of their top options for addressing their pains — while taking control of the message by emphasizing your differentiators and value language. Help them find their solution, their best solution. By doing so, you will be a helpful hand with a strong voice in their discovery and interest stage of the buying cycle.
Sellers Should Make Sense of Their Own Claims
Likewise, if buyers feel inundated with an abundance of conflicting information from your competitors, it is vital you address this issue head-on with your own insights.
Even with a strong relationship in the Seek to Serve™ spirit, it is still vital you provide proof to your buyer to calm their concerns about other industry content saying something different from yours.
Proof in practice can materialize as client value stories or other third-party sources who can provide hard outcomes-based and anecdotal evidence to support your solutions and insights.
For help with preparing your salespeople to make sense for their buyers, learn more about the Mereo sales enablement program.