The first installement of the Buyer Enablement series covered what Buyer Enablement is, what it entails for both the sales rep and buyers, and what both of their roles are throughout the buying process. Now let's dive even deeper by laying out three common scenarios that B2B sales reps face, and how to approach them from a Buyer Enablement perspective by taking charge of the buying process.
Scenario 1: Passive Selling Where the Buyer is in Charge of the Buying Process (Not So Good)
You have an interested prospect. You know that typically the IT department needs to approve these kinds of deals, but so far the buyer hasn’t brought it up and you’re nearing what you believe signature day. You’re behind your numbers for the quarter and you’re hoping this one will squeak through without having to get IT involved. Your buyer has given you a verbal commit saying, “We’ll get this deal done by the end of next week.” They seem very confident, so you’ve already booked the dinner at the nice restaurant you’ll take your wife to when you hit your number when this deal comes in on the last day of the quarter.
Then three days before the quarter ends your buyer says, “My boss says that IT needs to do a full audit of your solution to make sure it complies with our security requirements.”
“How long is that process usually take,” you ask, hoping it’s a 24 hour turnaround.
“I don’t really know,” says the buyer. (Of course they don’t know! They have never been through the process. But you have with other companies very similar to this one!)
You finally get a hold of IT and they provide you with a “questionnaire” for you to fill out that runs into the hundreds of questions. Suddenly you know that it’s going to take at least 2-3 weeks to get this done. You get that sinking feeling and have to cancel that restaurant reservation.
Scenario 2: Taking Charge of the Buying Process (Good)
Let’s look at the same scenario through a different lens. You have an interested prospect. You know that IT needs to get involved in these kinds of deals at this size of company.
So early on, long before the prospect even begins to think about it, you tell the prospect, “Now in deals I’ve done in the past, in companies your size, the IT department almost always needs to get involved with a pretty comprehensive review before we can get the final signature. How can we get the IT department involved early so this step doesn’t hold the deal up at the end?”
Your prospect replies, “Oh, I don’t think that’s necessary at our company. I’m the ultimate decision maker.”
You reply, “Okay, that’s good to know. Could you do me a favor though? I’ve seen some other customers at companies your size get surprised at requirements by IT for getting our solution implemented, and I’m wondering if you could just verify that it’s not necessary. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that unless I get that verification from IT, I can’t get our organization’s resources on board on our side because deals so often fall through without an explicit approval from the customer’s IT department. Ultimately, we’ll need either an approval from your IT department, or we’ll need to get the IT department to send me an email saying they don’t need to review it. Can you get that for me?”
Your prospect agrees and a couple of days later says, “Well, I found out there are a few things we do need to do that I wasn’t aware of to get IT approval.” The next day they send you the super long questionnaire, which you knew would likely be coming anyway, and you’ve lined up your own internal resources to get the questions answered.
You get the IT approval step out of the way before you get to the close and you get the deal done without too much trouble.
Scenario 3: Taking Charge of the Buying Process and Equipping the Buyer (Better)
Let’s move it forward one more notch. In the same scenario as scenario 2, let’s suppose you say, “Could you do me a favor? I’ve seen some other customers at companies your size get surprised at requirements by IT for getting our solution implemented, and I’m wondering if you could send over our IT Security Demo Package for your IT department to review and approve.”
Your prospect agrees, so you send a link from your buyer enablement platform that they can forward to the IT department. This package starts with a short video intro then lets the IT professional choose what topics are important to them. The buyer enablement platform them plays videos and animations explaining key points that the IT department usually asks about, then it references documents they can download from the document library immediately adjacent to the videos for additional details.
When your champion forwards the link to IT, you are notified and you get the contact information of the person in IT they sent it to. Both you and the champion are notified when they click the link and begin watching the security demo. With your champion’s permission, you reach out to the IT professional to offer any assistance and answer questions.
The IT department is impressed and considers what you sent over enough proof that they don’t need you to complete the gazillion-question questionnaire and they proceed to sign off on the solution.
Because you exerted leadership, took charge, AND equipped the buyer with prepared self-directed materials, you are able to get IT approval in record time. You skate through procurement, get the deal done, and before the quarter even ends, you are ahead of your numbers. You meet your wife at the that restaurant you both love and plan that eco tour you’re going to take next summer.
Buyer Enablement is Leading the Buying Process and Equipping the Buyer With Everything They and the Buying Group Needs
You can see through these scenarios how different B2B sales is when you enable your buyers.
True buyer enablement requires both exerting strong leadership in the buying process, which includes coaching and asking for commitments from the buyer to go through steps you already know need to happen, as well as providing them with pre-planned materials that you know will help get the deal done.