Buyer process and stages
*This article is part of the “How to set up your Startup B2B Sales Process in 3 weeks” series.
The Buyer process
As Newton’s third law states for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. So it is normal to think that when you have your own sales process there is an opposite side of the coin: a buyer process. Knowing what it is and being able to clearly identify the stage your buyers are at can make your life as a salesperson a lot easier! We believe that people don’t like to be sold stuff but they like to buy stuff and the true art of selling is being able to inspire a purchase. So without further ado here’s the buyer process most prospective buyers follow and their typical behaviors.
Stages of the buyer process
At this stage, your potential buyer becomes aware of the pain and the status quo loosens. He starts asking himself questions like “what is my current state?” and “what is my desired state?”. If the answer to both questions is not the same then he/she realizes there’s a problem/pain that needs to be addressed, gets interested in finding a solution, and begins to discover content online, products and brands. As a salesperson, you need to focus on the problem and pain points. Use big-picture industry-specific content. Inform your prospects on trends to educate them and help them evaluate buying criteria. Include webinars, e-books, white papers, and case studies.
At this stage your potential buyer starts to evaluate specific products and services, becomes more and more willing to engage with sellers. As a salesperson, you need to show them what it’s like to work with you. Use demos, datasheets, trials, share pricing, specific case studies with examples and references.
At this stage, the potential buyer has a list of filtered vendors based on comparisons and begins to look for a final decision. As a salesperson, you need to focus on building a relationship with your prospect and become a real asset to their company. Make them see reason, different points of view and provide insights to really stand out from your competitors.
At this stage, the potential buyer becomes a real buyer. He decides to work with a vendor and is now considered Closed WON in your sales funnel. BUT things don’t end here!
At this stage, your customer is with you for some time now. He starts to evaluate if the solution they purchased is really solving their problems. You need to maintain the relationship, ask for feedback and involve your customer in making your product fit their needs. If your customer is not happy with your solution chances are they won’t sign an extension.
At this stage, your customer is happy with your product and sees how it is actually helping them. As a salesperson, this is the ideal time to ask for a referral. Think about how they can upgrade their engagement with you either through Up-selling or Cross-selling. For example, you may want to offer other products or services that your customers can benefit from.
Do you know what is a sales funnel and what are its stages? If not, check out our previous article about it. Next, you can learn more about the job description of a Sales Development Representative.
Boris Georgiev is one of the co-founders of Out2Bound. As such he has worked with over 50 B2B founders helping them realize their go-to-market strategies. He is acknowledged by Forbes with the prestigious award 30 Under 30. On a daily basis, Boris tracks trends and best practices in B2B Tech sales.