Like most activities in the B2B world, the sales process is rapidly evolving due to advances in technology. In the past, a distributor or manufacturing businesses built solid relationships with a handful of suppliers, relied on those suppliers for product information, and maintained long-term partnerships.
Today, things look very different. Globalization and the proliferation of technology have reduced barriers to entry and have drastically increased the number of potential suppliers. Couple this with the vast and ever-growing barrage of information online, and today’s buyers spend a significant portion of the buying process researching different suppliers, products, and options available to them. In other words, the buyer suffers from Analysis Paralysis which can delay the buying process, or cause it to fail outright. This increasingly complex buying process has led to the emerging trend of Buyer Enablement, a critical strategy in today’s B2B commerce.
What is Buyer Enablement?
Buyer Enablement, AKA Customer Enablement and a host of other monikers, is simply the act of making it easy for a potential customer to transact with you. Sure, you may run ad campaigns, provide top-notch customer support, and have a slick website, but while these things are all encompassed in Buyer Enablement, they don’t paint the whole picture. At its core, Buyer Enablement is a strategy that is part consultation, part Business Intelligence and part Automation.
The following are some high-level examples of Buyer Enablement:
- Provide the relevant and detailed product information customers need to make buying decisions, when they need it, without having to go through a sales rep
- Use knowledge from prior sales to proactively address issues likely to stall the sales process
- Allow the customer to transact how they want, where they want, as soon as they are ready
- Arm your salespeople with knowledge to sell what the customer needs, exactly when it is needed
These actions are easier said than done. Among other things, you will need an in-depth understanding of your customers’ decision-making processes and chain of command, as well as their unique needs, which are driven by their respective business models and management practices.
What Are the Benefits of Buyer Enablement?
Obviously, if you make it easy for a customer to buy from you, they are less likely to buy from a competitor. But the benefits of Buyer Enablement go deeper than that. By providing the right tools the customer needs to make an informed buying decision, you can shorten the sales cycle, improve the buying experience, and position your organization as a knowledgeable partner. By leading a buyer through the sales process and preempting obstacles, you can help the buyer avoid pitfalls and information overload. When armed with sufficient information, the buyer is likely to buy more and is less likely to suffer from buyer’s remorse.
A good Buyer Enablement strategy is never complete, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. By analyzing sales data and gaining a deeper knowledge of your customers’ needs, you can continue to evolve your strategy to be as seamless as possible. Buyer Enablement doesn’t happen overnight, but when done right it will provide innumerable benefits to both your customers and your bottom line.