So far, numbers regarding the economy paint a foreboding picture of 2023. The concurrence of persistent inflation, tight labor markets, and supply chain disruption is creating buyer uncertainty and B2B seller fatigue. A survey by Gartner revealed that 89% of sellers feel burned out and over half (54%) are looking for a new job.
However, motivated sales teams who are familiar with their buyers’ needs will be more likely to succeed even in the worst market conditions. And we here at Dropbox Sign want to help.
That’s why we’ve created a guide for ways to boost buyer confidence in 2023!
- 1. Smooth the transition from marketing to sales.
- 2. Improve the learning journey for buyers.
- 3. Study the buyer’s position within their organization.
- 4. Reduce seller drag.
- 5. Invest in seller talent and training.
1. Start by smoothing the transition from marketing to sales
No one likes a disconnection in their buying experience. In B2C, disjointed brand communications, transactions, and products in B2C environments can be especially frustrating for customers. With more attention to improving these transitions, customers may give companies a second before taking their money elsewhere.
However, such a breakdown can end a relationship in the B2B world. So, although it’s been said before, sales and marketing must work together to present their brand more cohesively. It isn’t enough to sit in the same meetings and look at the same reports. You must think about what the buyer sees, hears, and feels when interacting with your brand at every touchpoint.
We recognize that programs may already be in place for Q1-Q2 of 2023. Use the first part of the new year to gather data and insights.
Don’t be afraid to get back to basics. This Qualtrics resource provides guidance and initial steps for aligning sales and marketing to the customer’s point of view.
2. Improve the learning journey for buyers.
Buyers have access to seemingly endless reserves of data, information, and testimonials online. This often results in a largely self-led journey through deliberation and purchase. But without an experienced seller as a guide, the information can be simply overwhelming at best, and grossly misleading at worst.
There’s a lot of room for improvement on the integration of digital experiences and sales rep interactions. The proper combination of the two allows buyers to travel a “self-reflective learning path,” on which they’re 147% more likely to buy more than originally planned (and more confidently too).
This on-demand webinar can help deepen your knowledge in this area:
Gartner CSO & Sales Leader Conference Recap: Adapt to the Future of Selling.
3. Study the buyer’s position within their organization.
As a B2B professional, you’re part of a team. So it’s no shock that your buyer probably is too, and they’re not alone in making major B2B purchase decisions. Indeed, as Demand Gen reported from its 2022 B2B Buyer Behavior Survey, the average buying group comprises:
- One to three members (41%)
- Four to six members (36%)
- Ten or more (14%)
- Seven to nine (10%)
Get to know your prospect’s position (and how it relates to that of others), their organization’s rhythms (whether they meet once weekly, remote or in-person), and when budgeting happens (whether your conversations are happening before or after).
With this information, you become an ally to your buyer. By presenting yourself as a champion of customer success, you’ll improve customer relationships post-sale, too.
4. Reduce seller drag.
As mentioned above, sellers are struggling. The signs (including procrastination, avoidance of work, and lower retention) are clear, and the “drag” is metastatic. It can also depress quotas and buyer confidence.
Research indicates that the way for chief sales officers (CSOs) to address this problem is not necessarily to lean heavily into seller drive, as front-line sales representatives often feel misunderstood by sales leadership.
Instead, sales management thought-leaders recommend working to address drag directly.
Here are a few ideas:
Acknowledge that drag may exist and may be hurting your sales team.
Addressing the issue openly can help to reduce friction between leadership and front-line sellers.
Categorize seller drag in your organization.
Conduct anonymous surveys to gather data on the issue.
Talk to sellers about the drag they experience.
It’s different from person to person, and the simple act of asking is part of the solution.
Remove common hurdles.
Perhaps certain administrative tasks are an unnecessary burden to your sales team. For example, Dropbox Sign integrates to enable sellers to automatically populate templates with contact data, set a specific signing order, send agreements, and automate tracking and reminders.
5. Invest in talent and training.
Attrition among sales representatives is high, and the consequences are significant. Blue Ridge Partners found that a 5% increase in seller attrition can increase selling costs by 4-6% and reduce total revenue by 2-3% overall.
So, in addition to working to reduce seller drag, it’s important to invest in talent and training. More talented, better-trained sellers will lift buyer confidence.
Sales leaders should spend 1:1 time coaching individual sellers to understand their unique career goals and craft a clear path for career advancement. It all starts with competency mapping.
Hot tip: If you’re curious about potential vessels for training, you may wish to avoid gamification. It consistently ranks last among preferred training methods, while self-paced learning ranks first, according to Forrester research.
One bonus way to improve buyer confidence: Enhancing your tech stack
One thing that improves your buyer experience and sales team efficiency are the tech stack that you choose. Ensure that your technology only enhances (and never impedes) your sales team’s performance.
Tools like Dropbox Sign, which integrate seamlessly into several CRMs like Hubspot and Salesforce, allow you to get deals in front of buyers faster and easier—greatly increasing your chances of closing.