“Just as no one can be forced into belief, so no one can be forced into unbelief.” – Sigmund Freud
I think in another life I was a psychologist, or maybe a philosopher. I enjoy researching the behaviors of people and trying to understand their process for making decisions. Starting with what I have learned about my own psyche: my general deciding algorithm leans towards the big picture, using goals and outcomes as my key variables. I tend to believe that multiple solutions can achieve similar outcomes, so I then tend to go with the organization with which I am most connected. However, with business decisions, I have learned the importance of having clear checks and balances and relying on someone who is more detail-oriented, and who can provide an analysis that I may not have considered.
As a marketer and a seller it is important to understand the influence of the two behaviors on any given outcome, and equally important to determine which person is the true decider at the end of the day. For example, if you are marketing to a person like me, it is important to provide me content that will help connect me to your organization, typically using empathy, and understanding of my challenge. I want a clear picture of how a solution achieves key objectives, but then once you have my attention, it is important to provide me with content that I can share with my team that dives into greater detail about how the solution is deployed, the commitments around the purchase, and any other small important details about the solution. Once you have the attention of a person like myself, assuming the follow up content passes muster, I will battle for you.
However, if the decision maker is a person who likes to dive deep into the minutia, and analyze all the particulars, the salesperson will need to sit tight and prepare for a longer process. That is where content that is available to them, what they go searching for, or what is provided to them, is very important.
The Demand Gen Report explores this in their B2B Buyer Behavior Study.
“When it comes to their (The buyers) web browsing experience in visiting specific vendors, buyers expect relevance and an intuitive, user- friendly navigation experience. In particular, 70% of buyers ranked “relevant content that speaks directly to our company” as “very important” in the survey, and 96% of B2B professionals considered messaging that “spoke directly to our industry needs” to be important.”
Overall, as seen in the quote and numbers above, content is what helps the buyer initiate their belief in a solution. The report also states that the connection with a sales rep is what brings the sale home. The most successful combination that leads to sales is that of content and personal connection between the buyer and seller. Today, it is as easy to research the salesperson as it is the company. Using LinkedIn, any buyer can easily determine if the seller they are working with has the experience needed to help them make a good decision.
“Of those that agreed the vendor was educated and offered valuable information, 81% said that their experience with their sales rep positively influenced their decision to select that vendor. Additionally, 91% of buyers said they felt the sales rep they engaged with was educated about their company and communicated relevant information that was customized to their needs.” –DemandGen Report
Take a look at the DemandGen Report graph on why vendors are chosen. Solutions, content, and customer service are important factors in making a sale.
Now that we understand the behaviors of the buyers, how do we ensure that we are prepared to provide the resources that will help move through the buying process? Consider these steps:
Step 1. Ensure you have content to tell the full story.
Step 2. Content needs to be recent and frequent
Step 3. Ensure the sales teams are publishing content that is similar to their personal pages to demonstrate knowledge.
Step 4. The sellers need to be educated on the solutions they are selling
Step 5. And never forget, follow up!
Following the steps above, and connecting with a solution that offers both marketing and sales enablement will allow the buyer to reach a belief that you offer them the best solution. Like Freud said, “Just as no one can be forced into belief, so no one can be forced into unbelief.”