The evolution of buyer engagement
Remember when sellers had more control of the sales cycle? When a buyer wanted to purchase a product or service, they reached out to a business directly. Then, sellers delivered their pitch and demo and the sales process would move forward from there. These days are long gone. Now, we’re in a digital-first world where buyers have more control than ever before as they have access to more information and resources right at their fingertips. So, it should come as no surprise that buyers are more than halfway through the sales funnel by the time they engage with a company directly.
To better understand how buyers engage with businesses and make a purchase decision, consider these stats:
- Gartner predicts that 80% of all B2B sales interactions will occur through digital channels by 2025
- On average, buyers complete 27 information-gathering interactions before they talk to a sales rep
- 44% of buyers note that they prefer to work with a well-informed seller
- 77% of buyers say that purchases have become very complex and difficult
These preferences put the pressure on sellers to be a trustworthy expert who can help buyers navigate the decision-making process. But with fewer opportunities to engage with buyers directly, organizations need to better equip sellers to build authentic and meaningful relationships when they have the chance. In order to do this, sellers need access to the right content, tools, and resources to engage with buyers in the right way at the right time.
What is buyer engagement today?
Buyer engagement describes the interactions between buyers and your organization throughout the sales process. Given the changes in buyer behaviors that we’ve already covered, it’s important to understand that engagement starts before they talk to a seller. After all, most buyers are already accessing your social media, website, and review sites to gather information about your company, product, and services.
Once buyers finally reach out to your organization and talk with a sales rep, engagement depends on how well sellers can provide an interactive, helpful, and inspiring experience. To do this, it’s up to sellers to provide a personalized and unique experience that considers where buyers are in the sales process and what they’re looking to achieve. When it comes to monitoring buyer engagement, measure and track buyer activities that include:
- Opening an email
- Responding to an email or phone call
- Accessing content and sales collateral
- Sharing sales assets with other decision makers
- Asking product-specific questions
- Scheduling follow-up meetings
Why is buyer engagement so important?
Effective buyer engagement is critical to winning and retaining business. As buyers rely more on digital channels, the sales journey can quickly become complex and include more touchpoints. However, research shows that engaged buyers go through the intricate sales process faster than less-engaged buyers. Gallup also found that buyers who are fully engaged account for a 23% increase in revenue.
But why is there such a correlation between buyer engagement and revenue? First, engagement helps buyers become more knowledgeable about your business, product, or service. It’s also a great way to make them feel connected to your organization in a way that inspires them to make a final purchase decision. If sellers are not fully prepared to engage with buyers effectively, they’re more likely to get stuck in the buying cycle which results in smaller and lost deals.
How to improve the buyer experience
There are a number of different approaches that companies and go-to-market teams can take to increase buyer engagement. Here are some strategies to consider in order to create a memorable experience that leads to increased engagement.
Meet them where they are
Meeting buyers where they are doesn’t mean sellers need to wait to connect with them once they reach out to your company. Digital channels like social media are full of buyers who are ready to make a big purchase, and more than 70% of buyers say that social media actually influences their research. This is a great opportunity for sellers to reach out, find out where the buyer is in the sales process, and provide helpful and relevant information. By doing this, sellers can foster an authentic relationship early on.
Grab their attention with personalized content
There’s no shortage of information and content in the market. This can be overwhelming for buyers, so it’s crucial for sellers to deliver personalized content that addresses their unique needs and challenges. Instead of pushing sell sheets and pitch decks on products and services, look for ways to provide content that’s visual, dynamic, and engaging. Remember, no two buyers are exactly the same, so embrace a sales content strategy that provides them with various types of content that they can review based on their own preferences.
Provide valuable information rather than focusing on selling
Capturing buyer attention is one thing — keeping it is another. Buyers want to be viewed as more than just a business transaction, so be sure to approach them in a way that guides them to your solution rather than pushing your product right from the start. To do this, sellers should educate buyers with informative content that gives them the opportunity to ask questions. By acting as an expert, sellers will build trust with buyers that encourages continued engagement.
The connection between sales enablement and buyer engagement
In addition to implementing buyer engagement strategies at scale, organizations need to rethink their sales engagement process in order to overcome common challenges that include:
- Marketing teams can’t handle numerous requests from sellers to create unique and personalized content.
- They also struggle to keep up with how buyers are responding to — and engaging with — content throughout the sales process.
- Sellers don’t have time to sift through large quantities of content to find exactly what they’re looking for right when they need it. They need to be able to locate, edit, and share relevant content in a matter of minutes in order to keep buyers engaged.
- Sales leaders also need an efficient way to track seller activity and how well they’re engaging with buyers.
These challenges are exactly why sales enablement is a critical piece of the buyer engagement puzzle. By leveraging a sales enablement tool, go-to-market teams can create a streamlined workflow that improves buyer engagement in the following ways:
- First, marketing teams can use a sales content management system to manage content in one place while ensuring that sellers have the ability to customize content for each buyer.
- Content management tools also track what content is used most often by sellers and viewed by buyers. By reviewing what type of content directly correlates with high engagement and closed deals, companies can generate more sales content ideas that are sure to move the needle.
- By storing and managing content in one central location, sellers don’t have to waste time searching for content or creating something from scratch. They can easily access and update the content they need and get back to engaging with buyers.
- Sellers also get real-time notifications when buyers view and share content. These real-time alerts help them track buyer engagement throughout the sales cycle.
- Leaders can also review seller activity and performance metrics to see how well sellers are engaging with buyers over time.
What to look for in a sales enablement tool
While sales enablement tools can make all the difference in improving buyer engagement, it’s important to find a sales enablement solution that:
- Is easy to use: If your sellers can’t navigate and use the enablement tool, then they won’t be able access, edit, and share content as quickly or efficiently as they need with buyers.
- Provides integrated insights: Look for a tool that includes access to intelligent data and analytics so you can make informed decisions on how enablement drives engagement.
- Supports various content formats: More than 85% of buyers prefer interactive content, so look for a tool that supports dynamic and immersive content in addition to necessary pitch decks, case studies, and one-pagers.
Engage buyers better than ever before with Seismic
Are you ready to change the way your sellers engage with buyers? Seismic’s sales enablement solution empowers go-to-market teams to meet the demands of today’s buyers. With Seismic’s buyer engagement tools, sellers can connect with buyers through social media, email, and SMS while delivering personalized and interactive content that’s sure to resonate. Click here to learn how teams generate 35% more leads and move deals forward 12 days faster with Seismic. Or, get started with a demo today!