Do you treat every sales conversation the same way? If so, you may be making a huge mistake. The way we all like to learn about products and services, as well as purchase them, has changed drastically in our lifetime. However, many people still handle their sales conversations in a manner consistent with a 2002 business textbook. In this blog, I want to explain how to make sure sales and marketing professionals are aware of the different stages of the buyer’s journey, and how that translates to sales conversations and conversions.
So what is the buyer’s journey?
Some of you may be intimately familiar with the different stages of the buyer’s journey. If you are, feel free to skip to the next section, as I’d like to make those who are unfamiliar aware of these stages. (See, we all learn and buy at different stages lol).
The buyer’s journey has three different stages. Awareness, Consideration, and Decision.
This is the first stage of the buyer’s journey, where individuals don’t even realize they have a problem to solve. At this stage, our marketing and sales cadence has to be educational, to help inform these prospects of the problem, why it’s important, and how it translates to their lives, careers, or other relevancies.
The second stage, consideration, is typically where individuals are aware that they have a problem, but they may not be aware of a potential solution. In this stage, I recommend using communications that help educate them on potential solutions that can solve their issues, and what steps are included in the process. This is where we want to learn about services and recommended approaches, to determine if they may be a good fit.
The last of the three is the decision stage. At this stage, most people have identified multiple different approaches to their solution and must decide on a remedy. At this stage, we will want to focus our conversation on items surrounding price and outcomes. This helps inform the individuals of investment, and potential return. If you handle these conversations correctly, you’ll make the case for your product or service, and land yourself a new client.
Identifying Stages throughout the Sales Process
So great, now that everyone is aware of the different stages, I want to talk more about why these matter for sales conversations and your funnel. Marketing should hopefully be aware that your organization will need all three different types of content to attract and engage potential new clients. What about sales? Does your organization sell differently based on these stages? I’ve seen quite a few companies that seem to forget this. The hard truth is that we all buy differently, and are exposed to a solution at different stages of the buyer's journey. It’s important to educate your salespeople on how to interact with them at each stage. So here are my recommendations.
The first step is to ask your potential prospect, where they are in the process? They might not even be aware of what stage they are at, but helping them identify this, will ensure a better sales experience. I typically ask them, “what can I help you with today?'' Your prospects will give you an answer, and if you are practicing active listening, they will give you great clues. Here are some great examples of how I listen and react to these in a sales conversation:
Someone in the awareness stage might send me an email and ask why their website is loading slow. At this stage, I know that our team needs to help provide information about their specific problem or offer to help them make a diagnosis. As a salesperson, I would offer them some time with our team to investigate what is happening, and softly introduce a solution if there is alignment. Approaching the conversation in this manner will help position you as the helpful expert, contributing to your chances of working together now, and in the future.
If someone is saying, “I’m just trying to get rough estimates on price to take back to my management team.” This tells me they are just collecting information and may be in the consideration stage. I would help them get some general information on whatever it is they are looking for, and ask them when they might make a decision, and if I can follow up. I suggest Capturing their information, providing them exactly what they are looking for as best you can, and then offering additional help if they or their team needs it. This is a great chance to help provide additional information about why your solution might be the best fit and help nudge them into the decision stage.
Lastly, someone who reaches out to us and asks for very specific services based on multiple problems that align with our company’s services is clearly in the decision stage. This is where you may want to provide them with information about your process, exact budget estimates to complete those services, and offer to answer any questions that haven’t been covered. Typically these prospects have spent a lot of time researching what solutions might work best for them. Chances are if you are contacted, your marketing team has done a great job of educating your prospect to the point where they really want to talk. These are my favorites and are often the easiest deals to close.
Utilizing active listening and making inferences from these responses, will help you connect your sales cadence and answers to their questions in a manner that helps spur interest in continuing work with you. Our main goal as digital marketers and salespeople is to provide helpful and relevant information that gets your prospect to their desired destination in the shortest amount of time. By following these tips for your business, you can help your sales team have more impactful conversations, which almost always translates into more closed business.
If you liked this content and would like to learn more about the different ways inbound marketing, HubSpot, and Vendilli Digital Group can help your sales and marketing teams improve, we would love to chat with you!