The Buyer Engagement Experience by gregvanderlindeslia

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									SLiA Group
              Sales Leadership in Action Group



 Buyer Engagement Experience


Executive Summary:

The buyer is the key to the sale. Sales reps that follow a sales process which effectively
focuses on the buyer’s perspectives, needs, and situation will create an effective buyer
engagement experience. Reps that can offer a customized service with a personal touch will
have a significant edge over competitors that focus on a “make the sale” rep-centric approach
to the sales process.




                 Bottom Line & Business Impact:
                 Sales reps that can deliver a buyer experience that is professional, proactive, and
                 focussed on understanding and meeting the buyer’s needs will be in-demand, and
                 will ultimately sell more.




            © 2010 SLiA Group Inc., sliagroup.com                                              Page 1
                  Create a Quality Sales Experience
                  A quality buyer engagement experience is not about being nice, pleasant, and jovial with
                  buyers. Acting this way is a given, and is not an effective way for reps to differentiate
                  themselves. It is about consistently doing the right things (i.e. pre-call planning, having an
                  agenda for the meeting, etc). Providing a quality buyer experience creates repeat business
Lay of the Land

                  and develops long term business relationships with buyers. It is also something that has
                  often been overlooked by many sales organizations over the past few years. Buyers have
                  grown weary about the quality of service they have been receiving during the sales process.
                  Sales leaders and reps alike must revisit their customer service strategy to remain relevant
                  and effectively meet the needs of buyers.

                  With an abundance of similar products in the market, a sales team that can provide a
                  quality service experience for their buyers will be well-positioned to sell more. This is
                  especially important during poor economic times, and when the markets are highly
                  competitive.

                  Enhancing a buyer’s purchasing experience begins with marketing/prospecting efforts, and
                  is passed on to sales reps who must continue to be focused on:

                     • The Buyer Engagement Experience
                     • The Buyer’s Expectations
                     • Improving the Buyer Experience

                  The Buyer Engagement Experience
                  Too many reps are only concerned about closing, rather than focusing on the development
                  of an ideal solution that will lead to a close. Sales reps must remain focused on the buyer
                  throughout the entire buyer engagement process. Too often there is so much focus on the
                  sales organization and their marketing and prospecting campaigns, that the buyer’s
                  perspective gets overlooked. Buyers that sense they are not the focal point of a business
                  deal will immediately be turned off.

                  Sales reps must:

                     • Demonstrate professional respect: Sales reps will create a positive environment by:
                          o Being prepped for meetings
                          o Respecting the buyer’s time
                          o Letting buyers drive the small talk
                          o Being on time
                          o Having a purpose and agenda for each meeting

                     • Provide a hassle free experience: Sales reps need to be proactive and reactive with
                       buyers by responding to their requests quickly and accurately. They must also ensure
                       that all agreed upon tasks, such as implementation and delivery, are carried out as
                       promised.

                     • Fulfill the buyer’s needs: Sales reps must have the knowledge necessary to solve
                      their buyer’s issues. Reps have to be able to act independently and provide the
                      customer service experience a buyer expects. Reps that follow the buyer engagement
                      process and remain aligned with buyers will engage buyers in the sales process to
                      effectively meet their needs.


                     © 2010 SLiA Group Inc., sliagroup.com                                               Page 2
   • Deal with errors: Issues will happen. It goes without saying that they should occur as
     infrequently as possible. The rep’s professional credibility is based on the manner in
     which they handle issues. A problematic situation must be dealt with up front, quickly
     and effectively, rather than trying to downplay the situation.
          o Take ownership
          o Acknowledge issues
          o Apologize
          o Create a plan to address the issues

   • Resolve problems: Effective problem resolution should be a top priority for all sales
     reps; however, reality proves this is not the case. Buyers want reps that will resolve
     their problems. Since the buyer engagement process focuses on the buyer first, reps
     can hone in on the specifics of a buyer’s need and develop solutions that will help
     them achieve their goals.

The Buyer’s Expectations
All buyers have certain preconceived notions about sales reps and their company before
entering the sales process. Buyers have a right to a minimum standard of service and have
expectations regarding:

   • Accessibility: Sales reps have to accessible. Reps must strike a balance between:
         o Being available
         o Providing a service
         o Respecting buyer’s time

Reps must be accessible when their buyers need support. After all, buyers are the key to
achieving sales goals. Sales reps must provide their buyers with as much support as
required to effectively serve and improve their situation.

   • Customization: Buyers are not interested in generic solutions, but purchase based on
     the unique capabilities of a product. They want a personalized experience that is
     focused on the specifics of their situation.

   • Knowledge: Buyers expect sales reps to have done their research. They expect reps to
     have background knowledge of the buyer’s situation on at least a surface level prior to
     their first meeting. Pre-call planning is of the utmost importance here. Reps cannot
     waste valuable time on survey-style questions and eliciting data they could have
     collected prior to meeting a buyer.

     Buyers are more educated than ever. They expect reps to be prepared and properly
     trained. Buyers want results, and if a rep cannot quickly show signs of being able to
     solve their problem, they will move on and seek a solution from another organization.

Improving the Buyer Experience
Sales reps have to work on improving the buying experience. The focal point of any sale is
the buyer and their experience. Reps too often lose sight of the importance of service
delivery. Fulfilling a buyer’s expectations is the goal of any quality sales process as it
guides reps by focusing on the buyer during each step, ensuring alignment along the way.
The buyer engagement process helps reps improve a buyers experience by:



  © 2010 SLiA Group Inc., sliagroup.com                                              Page 3
• Focusing on the basics: They must focus their efforts on the buyer and their
  perspective by actively listening to their concerns. It is an added bonus if reps can also
  create a personal connection with their buyers. Personal connections will open more
  doors and can lead to referrals.

• Internal credibility: Buying is a risk. Sales reps have to understand the buyer’s
  apprehensions, needs, and concerns. They must be sure to work with buyers in whom
  they have confidence, and perceive to have made the right decisions for their
  company. A poor deal will affect the buyer’s credibility within their organization, and
  will negatively impact their business career.




© 2010 SLiA Group Inc., sliagroup.com                                               Page 4
                Putting into Practice
                The Buyer Engagement Approach
                Use a Buyer Engagement Process, Not a Pitch & Prove Approach
                The Fundamentals of the Buyer Engagement Approach
                The Importance of Listening
                Acquiring Credibility
                Closing Challenges & The Buyer Engagement Approach
                Principles of Negotiation
                Sales 101 - Features and Benefits




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© 2010 SLiA Group Inc., sliagroup.com                                                                  Page 5

								
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