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Buying process will never be the same

New tools, new attitude essential, a CRM culture must rule!

If you don’t understand the new buying process, chances are you’re not getting the most results from the marketplace.

The buying process has changed radically and rapidly. The traditional approach of a territorial sales rep calling on customers just isn’t enough anymore. That’s because - depending on who you quote – the customer has made from 57 to 70 per cent of their buying decision before they even speak to a sales rep.

From a company perspective, it’s critical to touch those potential customers during that first two-thirds of the buying cycle. If you don’t, somebody else will. And it’s imperative to reflect this critical part of the sales process when building capabilities into a CRM system design.

The person charged with investigating a CRM purchase will have done their homework. The internet has made that initial research easy.

Here are five places they might look in their buyer journey.

  1. Vendors – They have a lot of information available with a simple mouse click and comparison shopping with different vendor websites. You need to be able to catch them as they come to your website, offer assistance or further information. The proper CRM tools of course allow you to capture their information and set up your own customer touch process.

  2. Partner websites – Again a great source of pre-information before a customer ever touched a sales rep. The information presented on a partner website goes a long was to determining their credibility and expertise in the mind of the potential client.

  3. User group communities – CRM user groups flourish in many communities and it’s a great source of user-level experience and information. User groups and other forums are places where potential clients put great trust in the information to be received. Are you part of those providing that information?

  4. Social media – The buying decision is affected in many, many ways by social media and on many different platforms. It’s a land where reps and companies can show their expertise, build credibility and keep the potential client in touch with new products, services and industry trends. Particularly effective in the business world is LinkedIn.

  5. Reviews – Online reviews prove to be very influential. And frankly the company who gets current and positive reviews, flourishes and is front of mind online with potential clients. How do you search for a hotel? For a restaurant? It’s no different in the CRM world.

So, it is essential these days for sales forces to be attentive to all touches with prospects, leads and existing customers. You need to be aware of where people are talking about and researching your product – and what they are saying in your business space, community and industry.

Those who wait for the knock on the door for that first touch from a prospective customer, may find themselves waiting a long time.

Rick McCutcheon is a Dynamics CRM MVP with expertise in sales process design, social selling and CRM strategies. Rick has been involved in the CRM industry since 1990 as a company founder, senior executive, reseller, industry association board member, educator consultant and professional speaker. He is the creator of the Full Contact Selling (FCS) methodology for Dynamics CRM. He can be reached at rickm@fullcontactselling.com .

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