Most of us know what sales enablement is these days. It’s less ‘niche department’ and more ‘essential function’ in modern organizations.
At the heart of sales enablement is the idea of empowering salespeople, giving them the tools they need not just to succeed, but to flourish and become their best selves. It’s natural. Salespeople like feeling informed and knowledgeable so that they can provide a great experience to prospects.
So why not take that concept of empowerment to the next level? That’s where the concept of buyer enablement comes into play.
Buyer enablement involves bringing that same level of empowerment that reps receive from sales enablement, to buyers.
In this article, we’ll cover:
- How buyer behavior is changing
- What buyer enablement is, and why it’s the answer to this changing behavior
- Steps you need to take in order to adopt a buyer enablement strategy
Buyer behavior is changing
It’s no secret that buyer behavior has changed, and continues to change. Nowadays, your average B2B buyer acts much like you do when shopping for personal items.
When you need a new refrigerator, for example, you’ll do your own research on various brands and how they compare to each other. A modern B2B buyer does the exact same thing when it comes to solutions.
By the time you’re actually in contact with the buyer via a sales rep or other means, their buyer journey is well underway. Salespeople are no longer the first point of contact, and you need to adapt to this change.
What is buyer enablement?
Buyer enablement is the answer to the changes we talked about above. When buyers change, sellers have to adapt and change as well.
In this particular instance, buyer enablement is part of a broader move towards buyer-centric tactics and strategies. You have to understand a buyer’s preferences before, during, and after they buy in order to provide them with the best experience possible.
Ultimately, buyers don’t want to be explicitly sold to. They likely have already done their research on both you and your competitor’s features, as well as having asked their peers for advice.
They don’t need a seller to just rattle off a list of features and call it a day. Modern buyers want more.
That’s where the concept of buyer enablement comes into play.
Like sales enablement empowers sales reps, buyer enablement aims to empower the actual prospective buyer of your product/service. Adopting this mindset means turning your sales reps into subject matter experts (SMEs) who can provide buyers with the knowledge and advice they need to address their pain points.
Through being an informed SME, sales reps can provide the smoothest possible experience for a buyer. It allows them to assess problems the buyer may have, analyze potential solutions, and more.
Sellers can help their prospects navigate the wealth of information available today, rather than just sell to them. This engages the prospect while building trust and rapport.
Rather than focusing solely on what your sellers need, you need to put yourself in the prospect’s shoes. Understand your prospects and what they want from the buying experience. Then, equip your reps with the tools and knowledge to provide this.
With this mindset, good sales reps can empower buyers to make the best possible, informed decision regarding their purchase rather than just pushing a product/service onto the prospect with no regard for the buyer’s needs.
Brett Trainor, Founder & General Partner, iQuipt Ventures summed up this need for buyer-centricity in our AMA:
“The biggest shift needs to come from the sellers. In my experience, buyers don't care about MQLs, opportunities, or pipelines. They just want a frictionless process to buy your product when they are ready”.
Steps you need to take in order to adopt a buyer enablement strategy
While buyer enablement may not be familiar to you, there are some simple steps you can take in order to start implementing it as a concept within your organization.
Understand your buyers
This is one of the most basic steps you can take, and although it’s basic, it can make a significant difference.
You’ll have buyer personas created, so take these to the next level and understand everything there is to know about your various target buyers when it comes to their buying process, not just their pain points.
Learn what their ideal customer journey looks like, as well as how they want sellers to interact with them, and incorporate that into your personas.
Streamline the prospect’s experience
Buyers have a lot on their plate when it comes to completing a purchase. There’s the needs-assessment, researching various suppliers, hoping they’re choosing the best option, gathering buy-in from all the relevant stakeholders, and so on.
It’s stressful, obtuse, and time-consuming.
How can a sales rep make a difference here?
Firstly, they can make every interaction streamlined where possible. For example, leave a meeting scheduling link in your emails as you work to organize dates. That way, you’re avoiding needless, time-wasting back-and-forth.
Secondly, you can make it easy to contact you. Provide email addresses, phone numbers, LinkedIn, Slack, as much as is possible so that the prospective buyer can reach you without any hassle. If a prospect can’t engage with you in an easy fashion, they’ll give up and go to someone else.
Thirdly, listen! Listen to their concerns, requests, queries, and anything else they have to say. If you can help with anything they say, do. Too many sellers are there to pitch and do nothing else, so if you can make the buyer’s journey as easy as possible by helping them, then you’ll stand out from the crowd.
Add value to every interaction with engaging content
As has been mentioned throughout this article, you can’t just pitch to a prospect and be done with it. In order to achieve the best results, you have to add value to every interaction you have with a buyer.
This is one area in particular that sales enablement (as well as marketing and product marketing) can have a big impact.
This content, if geared towards buyer enablement, doesn’t have to be sales content whose explicit purpose is to sell. You can add just as much value, if not more, by providing content that both simplifies the prospect’s buyer journey and enhances it.
Content such as whitepapers, informative videos, templates, and other things along that line are useful and worthwhile to a buyer. They enhance the buyer’s experience regardless of whether the interaction ends in a sale or not.
Again we come back to the idea of buyer-centricity. What does the buyer want? Your potential sale revolves around meeting the prospect’s needs, so once more put yourself in their shoes and think about what they want out of that interaction.
To summarize, B2B selling has evolved. Buyers are self-driven, self-informed, and their behavior is different from what it once was.
Being a modern seller means adapting to these changes, and the best answer to these changes is to focus on the buyer. Focus on their needs and how you can make their journey as smooth as possible.
If your sellers can add real value to a prospective buyer’s experience, while simultaneously empowering them to make an informed decision, you’re likely to see success in these evolving times.
At the end of the day buyer enablement is important because when the buyer changes, you need to adapt, no ifs or buts.
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