Understanding the B2B Buying Process

The Internet continues to change the way B2B sales are conducted, and firms need to adapt to this new climate. One of the biggest changes is that salespeople are no longer the gateway to product information, as prospects are doing the majority of their research online well before they make first contact with a company. Much business sales training still doesn’t recognize this fact.

Which Internet tools are modern buyers using to help make their buying decisions? Some include:

  • Company websites
  • Social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook primarily)
  • Review sites (Yelp)
  • Annual reports (to determine the health of potential vendor partner)
  • Online news articles

This represents a tremendous amount of data that prospects are armed with before you get a chance to talk with them. If your current sales process and business sales training doesn’t take into consideration that your buyers probably know all about you and your competition already, your firm will stay behind in the game.

Since so much self-education occurs, B2B sales organizations have to figure out how to become part of the buyer’s process early enough to be top-of-mind when the buyer is finally ready to commit. This is where a marketing automation tool comes in.

Stay Ahead of the Buyer

Marketing automation allows firms to get a leg up on buyers by illuminating their actions and deciphering intent in a previously impossible manner. Solutions such as RAMP utilize technology to track behavior from the first moment a prospect engages with a brand on the Web, providing powerful insight into his behavior.

Benefits of RAMP:

  • Marketing actions immediately and automatically come into play to nurture the lead without a lot of manual entries to the CRM.
  • Buyer engagement is monitored and responded to via the system, until the prospect’s actions reveal it is time for sales personnel to make that first important phone call for an appointment or test close.
  • A scoring system for the prospect’s actions takes care of the guesswork regarding the next logical step in the sales process, effectively aligning the buyer’s process and the seller’s.
  • Marketing automation pushes the seller’s process forward much earlier in the buyer’s process compared with other methodologies, speeding up the nurturing process.
  • Provides granular, real-time info on what prospects are doing and which marketing efforts are working.
  • The lines separating marketing and sales blur so that they work together in a more intimate fashion.
  • Leads get warmer and much easier to close as they progress through the sales funnel, because they are being “tickled” with customized follow-up messages at the appropriate points based on their interactions — all without a great investment in time and other resources.

Business sales training is wasted unless that training gets utilized at the right time in the buyer’s sales process. Relying on outdated prospecting methods for B2B sales puts a company at a serious disadvantage, as buyers will likely already be interacting with companies that use marketing automation tools.

The way to maintain a competitive advantage, or take the lead against firms set in their old-fashioned ways, is to use automated methods that bridge the gap between marketing and sales functions in order to better serve the customer and speed up their buying process.

RAMP is one such solution. Ask ASHER Strategies about how it can help your business today.

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