It’s all about customer trust.
If you want to close more sales, it pays to earn your customers’ trust. Typically, companies that are viewed as an “approved vendor” win fewer than 4 out of 10 forecasted opportunities. For “trusted partners”, it’s more like 6 out of 10.
89% of business buyers expect vendors to understand their needs. They want to feel “known” – which is why having a smooth buying journey is so important to your sales team’s win rate. Each time something goes smoothly, it helps the buyer to feel like you really “get” them. Each time there’s a hiccup, it can make them feel like maybe you don’t.
So as a sales leader, it’s your job to go hunting for those points of friction that can cause a buyer to lose momentum, or change their mind.
Our sales guide, Win and Grow Customers: Your Guide to Delivering Better Sales Experiences, highlights five important places to start.
It seems unfair, but the buyer has mostly made up their mind about your brand or solution before they even speak to a salesperson. On average, they’ll be 57% of the way to their decision, based on their own research.
To make a good first impression, you need to have sales and marketing content that’s relevant to their needs, at their particular stage of the buying process. You can do that two ways:
Adapt your online content dynamically, based on the data you have so far
Give salespeople tailored content, which they can use to suit what they already know about the prospect.
Any good sales professional knows the joy of calling a prospect at exactly the right moment – for example, when they’ve just decided they need some advice, or have been given approval to buy. It feels like serendipity, and the sale seems to flow.
More often, though, it’s the frustration of bad timing – the budget has not been signed off yet, or they chose a different vendor last week.
But if you use technology to connect marketing with sales, you’ll help your team to call at exactly the right moment, more of the time. Automated rules can notify the most appropriate salesperson when a prospect is engaging with information on a particular solution or – better still – looking at your pricing.
In short, you enable the salesperson to be lucky, more often. And to the customer, it’s exactly the right conversation, at just the right time.
If you’ve ever forgotten someone’s name at a party, or failed to recognise a client out of context, you’ll know how embarrassing it can be to start over – and how hard it is to convince that person they’re important to you.
And yet buyers get this from salespeople all the time. 64% expect tailored engagement based on past interactions with a brand – so it’s not a good look when a salesperson calls and begins the conversation from scratch.
Remember, by the time your buyer is speaking to sales, they’re at least halfway through making a decision, and they’ve likely spent a lot of time with your marketing content. If sales and marketing share their view of each customer in a single system, the first sales call can be the continuation of that conversation – rather than another annoying reboot.
If your sales, marketing, finance, and service teams struggle to present a united front, you’re not alone. 59% of customers complain that buying experiences feel disconnected when they have to deal with several departments.
Usually, a customer doesn’t care which department they’re dealing with – to them, they’re interacting with one company, so it feels wrong when your organisational silos get in the way of their experience.
One way to address this is to go beyond sharing data and make a collaborative workspace in the customer record. This way, you can work together on a plan for the account and co-ordinate your actions and deadlines to give your customer a joined-up experience that really builds trust.
Everyone knows sales quotes are a pain to produce by hand. But actually, the problem is deeper than that – manual quotes don’t just waste time; it’s likely they’re costing you sales.
Every delay en route to the sale is a chance for your buyer to change their mind. While you’re waiting around for finance to approve the numbers, your competitor could be stealing in and impressing the prospect with a fast, responsive approach.
Worse, manual quotes are prone to human error. It’s easy to misplace a decimal point or mismatch an item – and a small mistake like that can have big consequences. Even if you don’t have to honour the offer, it’s a hammer blow to the buyer’s confidence, right at the most crucial moment.
If you can, it pays to build a pre-approved quoting process into your CRM. It’s fast and accurate, and streamlines handoffs between departments. You can even use AI to guide salespeople towards the best choice for the customers’ budget.
Delivering a frictionless buying journey is easier said than done. It takes persistence, technology, and close co-ordination between different teams.
But if you can achieve it, you’ll really set yourself apart. 80% of companies say they deliver a “superior experience”, but only 8% of customers actually agree. Talk is cheap – but the real opportunity lies in following through and behaving in a way that actually delivers on your promises.
Our free ebook, Win and Grow Customers: Your Guide to Delivering Better Sales Experiences, would be an excellent place to start.