June 26, 2019
The B2B buyer’s journey is an especially precarious one. Selecting enterprise-level solutions for your business is no small thing, and the risk of a large purchase entails significant direct and opportunity costs. Because of this, it’s not surprising that buyers use as many resources as possible when deciding to make a purchase, with one of the most influential being customer reviews.
Reviews carry weight because buying is an inherently emotional process, especially in the absence of perfect data. According to a report from Heinz Marketing and G2 Crowd, 90% of B2B buyers are more likely to buy something after reading a positive review of it. This creates an incentive for businesses to ensure every review of their company is as good as possible, a responsibility that falls heavily on sales teams.
Buyers by no means read reviews only during their initial evaluations of products. In fact, the G2 Crowd and Heinz Marketing study shows that almost half of buyers look at reviews late in the selection process too.
Because a sales team is the tip of the spear, a stellar sales team can be the key to getting more positive reviews and limiting negative ones. Be familiar with and avoid bad sales habits to turn poor reviews into raves:
Don’t go in blindly. When you call someone for the first time, keep in mind that you’re asking for that person’s time. Prove as quickly as possible that you will make the call worthwhile and keep the conversation from feeling like an interruption.
Before making your first contact with leads, learn about them: their market, their business, and their interests and needs. Be able to anticipate questions and acknowledge concerns. Preparation shows respect, which is a prerequisite for trust.
Get personal. The first and most important question all buyers have is “Why is your solution relevant to me?” Buyers need to know early on that what you are selling meets their needs, delivers solutions, and is better than what the competition has to offer. Customers want to feel like you’re speaking to them, not just an anonymous prospect at the other end of a sale.
Opt for a little less talk, a little more listening. If you go into a sales call relying solely on a script, your prospects will see right through you. It doesn’t give the prospect a chance to communicate his or her own wants and needs.
Engaging in organic conversation is a surefire way to make people feel less like opportunities and more like human beings who matter. Let your prospect ask questions, and get to the bottom of his or her needs—you’ll find out more than if you just listen to your own voice.
Don’t make a match if it’s not made in heaven. No one likes a pushy salesperson, especially when he or she is peddling a product that’s a poor fit to begin with. Not every lead is going to be a viable customer. It’s the responsibility of sales teams to make this determination early and let things go if they aren’t right.
Similarly, these teams have to acknowledge when a lead that’s already in the sales funnel is unlikely to move all the way through it and respectfully bow out instead of pushing something that wasn’t meant to be.
If you want to be successful in B2B selling, eradicating bad sales habits is a necessary prerequisite. One of the best ways to do this is with call planning, in which salespeople make a preparation checklist and complete it before they make their first contact. The conversations in calls should also be carefully documented to identify any problems in the sales process or important opportunities to move forward with a lead.
Ultimately, the goal of all sales teams should be to make it easy for potential buyers to say no and exciting for them to say yes if a sale fits the bill. By doing this, you empower the customer and make it much more likely that you and your company get positive reviews in the future.