Some ways to delight your potential customers

By Anders Björklund

Some ways to delight your potential customers

It's never been more challenging to be a B2B sales rep. You must manage heightened expectations, battle against the competition, and ensure you have time to meet the needs and challenges of everyone in your sales pipeline.

Regardless if you are an experienced sales veteran with decades of experience or brand new to the sales profession, here are some simple steps that might delight your potential customers.

As a sales rep, you know that the relationship between you and your customers begins earlier than your acquisition stage. Therefore, positive brand experiences need to be created pre-purchase, just as much as they need to be provided post-purchase.

Before you begin creating the customer experience for your potential customers, you must understand what B2B sales mean for you, your company and your potential customers.

What are B2B sales?

B2B sales sell products, solutions or services from their business to another. The most common type of B2B sales occurs when one company sells a product, solution or service to another company that will use it to help run their business. Business-to-business sales are usually made through personal networks and relationships.

A good B2B sales experience makes it easy for a business to work with you. In addition, the positive experiences you create for your customers add to the longevity and success of your company.

The more satisfied customers you have, the more likely they will refer you to potential customers. In addition, approximately 80% of future profits come from 20% of existing customers, so it makes sense to focus on a customer's happiness and satisfaction before becoming a customer.

The main challenge is to create a positive experience for your potential customer during the pre-purchase phase, to keep your customers satisfied enough to purchase only accounts for one part of your customer's lifetime cycle,

Here are three common challenges B2B sales reps need to master to keep brand experiences delightful for the potential customer, plus some tips on overcoming them.

Don't be pushy

Everyone needs to hit their monthly sales quotas, but there is a fine line between pushiness and persistence, and each customer is the judge.

The word most commonly associated with sales reps is "pushy." But unfortunately, it's a frequent problem when we stop listening to our potential customers and instead start listening to our internal dialogue and USPs.

An example is suggesting a demo before the potential customer is ready. The potential customer may entertain the demo but will have their defences up, making the next steps uncomfortable.

So please don't push a potential customer further down the buyer's funnel before they are ready. This will result in a sale where potential customers don't feel like they are in control of their brand goals.

Let them make the next move.

Whenever customers want to purchase, let them think about it and do their due diligence.

So put away your timetable and stop focusing on monthly and quarterly sales quotas; focus on meaningful engagements. Your main priority is being there for the potential customer at the right time, with the correct information and data, helping them buy, and looking at their needs.

This means that your sales managers need to shift their KPIs and look at metrics usually used by customer success teams, like NPS, CSIs and churn rates. These three metrics originate and have roots in the buying process.

Creating a personal experience

Relationships are everything in B2B sales; whether walking a tradeshow floor or engaging with someone online, getting potential customers to "like you" is the best way to create a positive sales experience.

Being likeable doesn't mean constantly telling jokes or showering the potential customer with false compliments. Likability is hard to quantify, but if you look at behavioural research, certain commonalities appear again and again. Some common traits of likeable people include that they always:

  • Remember names and details.
  • Ask relevant and insightful questions and listen actively.
  • Don't pretend to know better or more, and aren't afraid to admit if they don't know something.

So, make sure that you keep these qualities in mind as you maintain your likability.

Lean on technology.

To further curate a personalised buying experience, sales enablement and marketing automation tools are an absolute must. For example, video prospecting allows you to send personalised videos to showcase your likability directly in the potential customer's inbox.

By using personalisation tokens, you will craft messaging at a scale that still resonates and makes potential customers feel special.

Matching the position in the buyer's journey

Many potential customers know more about your company and offer than ever before. I want you to know that understanding where a potential customer is in the buyer's journey allows you to step in and initiate or increase outreach with impeccable timing.

Sales is an intricate dance of persuasion. If you push too hard, your potential customer may stumble and fall. And if you don't maintain the lead, your potential customer may as well pick another partner or supplier.

The art of modern sales lies in balancing:

  • Showing up at the right time
  • Giving the potential customer correct information
  • Letting them digest it on their own

This synchronicity begins with your marketing team. First, marketers should attract and nurture leads with targeted content and pass qualified potential customers to sales; then, sales reps should convert those potential customers into your customers.

Getting this timing right means your marketing and sales must agree on when the handover from marketing to sales happens. Additionally, both organisations must collaborate to create quality content for the buyer during all the pre-purchase interactions. When sales and marketing teams align, companies see a much higher sales win rate.

Reducing friction along the buyer's journey is essential to engaging your potential customer.

You can spot and remove this friction by aligning your sales and marketing approach.

A simple step to make your sales and marketing alignment easier is keeping track of every customer interaction with your company.

The more you know about your potential customer's actions, the more you can personalise your outreach and help the potential customer.

It's not what you sell; it's how you sell it, using a modern sales process, making it radically easier to buy and purchase.

Examples of B2B sales

Every day, you most likely run into new examples of B2B sales in action, as one company's products, solutions, and services improve another company's business.

The most ordinary example of B2B sales is that your company sells products, solutions or services directly to another company. 

For example, a manufacturer of bolts and screws may sell to a car producer. The car producer will use bolts and screws to build their cars.

Or a software company could sell CRM software to a manufacturing company; the manufacturing company will use that software to manage its relations and business with potential and existing customers. 

Here are some ways to delight your potential customers in their buying process.

How to provide the expected B2B sales experience

Know the difference between a good fit and a bad

Previously, a B2B salesperson could be a generalist, selling to anyone who expressed an interest in their product, solution or service. However, an effective B2B salesperson needs to know their ideal customer profile and buyer personas. They must also become familiar with how their competitors can be a better fit and provide more value to bring on the right good-fit customers.

Know where your potential customer is in the buying process

In the past years, I have observed a new B2B buyer phenomenon of "swarming" and "ghosting".

Potential customers spend a lot of time and effort digging into a product or technology over a brief period and then stop responding until the problem emerges as a priority. Therefore, understanding if your potential customer is a first-time explorer or an experienced buyer and having access to their background is a huge advantage.

Ask them what the best way to work is

This is a differentiator that makes all the difference. You can find their preferences if you prefer to use a phone or email when interacting with them. For example, do they like to meet physically, or do they like to be reached through video meetings? Do they prefer watching videos or reading articles? Do they want plenty of background information and facts, or do they want you to get straight to the point?

Modifying your behaviour based on your potential customer's personality characteristics is a great way to delight your potential customer.

Aim to make them look good

Please ask your potential customer how you can make them look good in their organisation and make their manager look good together. 

Sometimes they will know, and sometimes they don't, but the question gets them thinking. If your potential customer needs help in this area, please feel free to get back with a short list of things you have done to support other companies.

Help your customer understand some common potholes others have faced

Define each step of the purchase and implement it. Along the way, share your best practices and all relevant lessons learned. If your customer knows when to expect your implementation or when to expect some challenges, it will make the experience more positive overall.

Assisting in the implementation or suggesting a partner help them out can take much of the anxiety out of the sales process. 

Have a clear plan for the sales approach

Please don't hesitate to ask your potential customers if they are in the awareness, consideration, or decision mode. And also ask about their deadlines.

Once you have this information, you must put together everything you need to bring the customer to their final decision to avoid surprises. Additionally, the documentation helps if they must pass the sale to a decision-maker to determine the last call. Finally, laying out the specifics of that deal's sales process can help you and the potential customer plan. 

Ask good questions and dig into the answers.

Potential customers are looking for sales reps who take the time to understand their present situation and desired future state, their objectives and challenges and what is most essential to them. The days when sales reps came in and wowed a potential customer with a rehearsed song and dance are long gone. Instead, being a listener, thinker, and problem solver can make a difference in delighting your customer.

Make sure they know that you listen and hear.

Could you recap every step? For example, when your potential customer tells you what they are looking for, repeat what you hear to ensure you understand. For instance, you could say, "I have heard you need a quick start and have a very limited budget. Did I get that right?"

Please make sure to document and distribute clear notes and record your meetings and calls for other stakeholders to listen and read the documentation when appropriate.

Connect them with your customers

Connecting your potential customers with existing customers will improve communication channels and leverage the business flywheel. Save references at the end of their decision process. Instead, ask if it would be helpful for them to talk with some of your customers who already went through this process and can let you know the prerequisites, their learnings, and the areas where they wish they had done something differently.

Include potential customers in your ecosystem

Including potential customers in your webinars, events, updates, user groups, and online forums give them a sense of belonging before making their purchase decisions.

It is the opposite of holding back. Instead, it would help if you asked them to spend a little time in your customer knowledge base or let them see how you and your team cooperate with your existing customers. This is more inclusive and allows potential customers to build a community with current customers.

Frequent check-ins through the process and post-purchase

I like to connect in some form every few days. That often looks like sending over a product video, blog article, or podcast they'd be interested in. Or, I'll send a "What can I do for you today?" email to keep things simple.

After the purchase, we tell our customers that we will be with them for a year. I will check in twice and be available whenever you need me. This provides trust and transparency after the ink on the deal is dry, which is especially helpful if you plan to give them another future offering.

When you're looking to upsell, please ensure you're clear on what your customer needs and provide it. Sometimes, it's increased explanations and support, an ongoing organisational change, and a need to follow up more or interact more frequently. The ability to do everything you can to make buying easier will surely delight a customer in the long term.

Ask for feedback

Once you have the business deal, ask what you could have done differently and what you need to improve, to find best practices. At Zooma, we use NPS (Net Promoter Score survey to determine what people like and dislike.

Please your customers throughout their buying experience

With practice and intention, you can repeatedly create a delightful sales experience for your customers. A helpful approach is to assemble a playbook.

Please make sure to deliver your B2B sales experience playbook with all your best practice definitions, technology, advice, and FAQ so the entire sales organisation can create a repeatable effective process.

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Anders Björklund
Founder, CEO & Strategist since 2001. Anders provides thoughts and reflections about how to think about onlinification and digitalisation in B2B.
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