How to Map the Sales Process to the New Buyer’s Journey for Higher Value Deals

the buyers journey

Sales reps are a channel, not the channel for information. Buyers don’t care where they get information so long as its fast, easy, and immediate. Reps can bring the future forward if they recognize how to map the sales process to the buyer’s journey.

It was a call, unlike any other. Todd Hockenberry was on The Buyer Enablement Podcast. See the clip below before you read any further, it’s the perfect way to describe the buyer’s journey and kick this post off. 

“[Buyers say] I want it now. I want it quick. I want it Amazon-friendly. I want it easy. I want to be able to [find an] answer [to] my questions at 10:30 at night before I go to bed or 6:00 am before my kids get out of bed on a Saturday. I don’t want to talk to a salesperson, don’t waste my time. I want to self-service, I don’t even want to talk to you about a demo. I want to be able to find value in your demo by myself at my own pace. I want to hit 1.5 [playspeed on the video] and speed it up if you’re boring—all on my own. Then I want to see testimonials and read reviews. Then I’m going to make a decision.”

Todd Hockenberry, Consultant | Advisor | Coach (Industrial Inbound, Manufacturing Marketing, Inbound Marketing) @ Top Line Results

What’s great about this rapid-fire clip is the speed at which Hockenberry delivers a pretty complex concept for those of us in sales. 

He gets through every significant step of the B2B buying journey almost as fast as a racecar pitstop. He knows his stuff.

However, that’s about as fast as it happens in real life. Today’s buyers move fast, and salespeople need to adapt to today’s buying realities.

The best thing salespeople can do is be the pit stop before the buyer get’s back on their track.

Your process needs to map to the buyer’s journey.

If this feels frightening, keep listening. There’s a role for salespeople in the buyer’s journey. 

According to Todd, sales must adjust course. He gets into that and more than on The Buyer Enablement Podcast

For this post, I’m going to share some insights from Todd Hockenberry and others to illustrate the ways revenue teams can map the sales process to the new buyer’s journey.

When you look at what you’re buyers are doing through this lens, we can pick up a few things that salespeople can do.

Thrive with these quick frameworks.

Content has not made it easier for buyers.

The buyer still needs help in making a decision. Actually, according to Gartner, many buyers are feeling overwhelmed with the amount of high-quality information available to them.

Think about it. Your company is creating content, and your competitors are creating content; everyone is creating content all the time. Google makes it pretty easy for your buyer to consider multiple vendors at one time.

According to Salesforce, your buyer is getting the same-ish emails you’re sending from nearly five different sources just like you.

As a salesperson, you represent a channel, not the channel. When you engage, be aware of the content overload we’re all experiencing. 

The best approach a seller can make in the new B2B buyer journey is to help make sense of an overwhelming situation.

Make it make sense to win.

Your competitive tendencies can make a huge difference.

If your buyer is receiving messages from every which way, how is yours going to stand out? Another email with an attachment, no matter how great, will probably not do the trick.

What is the experience of buying from you?

Remember when Todd Hockenberry mentioned Amazon? It’s such a good thing to bring up.

Everything on an Amazon product page is there to make the buyer feel like they’ve already own product. They know what the future looks like, and it makes sense.

Every single Amazon product page does a great job at bundling information. They provide the buyer with a content experience that stands out.

Salespeople need to offer that Amazon experience. It’s what buyers expect now

How could you offer an experience that provides the buyer with everything they need to know to feel confident about moving forward without crushing their inbox with emails?

Reps need to craft experiences, not just send emails.

Content experiences are the future. People appreciate a personalized approach because it adds context to insight.

Deploy a content experience at the right time in your relationship with your buyer.

If that lines up at the right place in their journey, you’ll know when they thank you for making things simple.

Buyers need a rep who can show the way forward.

We believe salespeople are capable of more than making a transaction. The best salespeople are strategists, architects, and guides.

At least, that’s how the buyer should feel.

The biggest hurdle to closing deals today isn’t a selling problem, it’s buying problem.

Buyer confidence is low. They’ve probably not purchased a solution like yours before. They’re struggling to make sense of information gathered from trustworthy sources. On top of that, even when they’re ready to buy, there will still be struggles gathering consensus from within their buyer group.

Good news, you’ve probably done this before? Don’t hide that. Emphasize it!

You’ve worked this deal before. Talk about your perspective as a salesperson and former clients. People love real examples. It’s not a dirty secret that you’ve closed deals like this before. Use prior knowledge working with similar customers and mention what the path to success looked like to boost confidence.

Josh Fedie

Buyers expect to access information in an always-on, on-demand environment. They also want it personalized. 

Leverage your experience as a seasoned problem-solver to show the most straightforward path forward. Easier does not always mean cheaper. 

If you can address the confidence issue, buyers are three times more likely to make a high value, low regret deal. 

No matter where your buyer is in their journey, you are a channel for them in their journey towards a purchase, not the channel.

Get comfortable with the nonlinear buyer journey.

Here’s the biggest mistake when it comes to the buyer’s journey: salespeople think it’s the pipeline, as in it’s a linear story with stages.

19% of buyers want to connect with a salesperson during their buying process’s awareness stage when they’re first learning about the product. 

Most pipelines have the sales discussion at the end.

According to Gartner, sellers often try to push the buyer through a linear pipeline with stages that corporate determines.

That’s not how buyers buy.

It’s more like a Tarantino movie.

Like watching Pulp Fiction, buyers go back, go forward, spend time on a sub-plot, and pause to contemplate the story. It hardly makes any sense until the end!

Just because you’re talking to them today does not mean they’re at the bottom of the funnel, at the end of their journey, or ready to buy.

Watch the full episode of The Buyer Enablement Podcast with Todd Hockenberry.

Sharing prescriptive advice that helps buyers overcome obstacles is a sales superpower

With a clearer sense of the typical B2B buying journey, sellers must use a sales superpower. Many sellers do not realize it, but they can use future sight; at least that’s what it seems like to their buyers.

When you share prescriptive, problem-solving advice that not only makes the buyer aware of an upcoming obstacle but solves it for them—you’ve transformed yourself from a seller into a guide.

You’ll get your buyer to move you up the list of their favorite information channels when you offer prescriptive advice. 

Now buyers have many sources for information to make sense of the purchase. They will talk to you, a competitor, binge all the content on your company website at their own pace.

It’s nearly a meme by now that no one likes to be sold to. As a salesperson, you likely rank near the bottom of your buyer’s list of purchase-related research sources. That’s just how you’re perceived, but we can fix that.

Buyers may not want to be sold to but they do want the fastest way to make sense of the buyer’s journey. They want to buy. Moreover, they want to feel great about buying!

For modern revenue teams, reps can take a lot of pointers from customer success on how-to guide would-be customers towards the deal.

With SalesReach, reps are cutting through the bulk of their company websites and saving their buyers from the barrage of emails. Reps can put the most appropriate information in one place and provide a personalized experience for each opportunity.

The custom-tailored experience reps can provide through enablement technology completely changes the perception buyers have of being sold to, to feeling confident about a decision.

Salespeople can be the guide buyers desperately need.

Offer value sooner in the buyer’s journey. Be the voice of sense-making earlier in the relationship than what the old paradigm of a linear buyer journey would suggest.

Demonstrate your superpower to anticipate obstacles and common objections. Show them the next steps by curating consistent content experiences.

If you complete enough of the buyer’s to-do list, you’ll be the one that made it easy in a super complex world of information overload.