Interesting report that states that your biggest competitor is do nothing.
The report makes two recommendations
1. The report confirms that content is the battle ground for today's sales and marketer. Buyers are going on-line and consuming content and they are looking for experts to help them. Why is this? Because if you are going to make a significant purchase (as a buyer), you will be spending political capital internally so you want to get it right.
The problem for many selling companies is that they "sell". All of their content is "broadcast" it tells you how great their products and services are, that they are number one. It does not solve the clients problem. Look at this blog, I'm not telling you how great Digital Leadership Associates social-experts.net is, I'm providing you with insightful and supportive content.
Also so many (selling) companies forget, that they are experts. I've been selling Accounting systems for 25 years, which means I'm not Accountant, but can have a good conversation with an accountant. And here's the problem, the buyer is not an expert. In fact they probably have never purchased an accounting system. So they average buyer cannot see the differences between the products and certainly isn't an expert.
A great example is that Accounting software suppliers talk in jargon. They call accounting software, ERP. No ordinary person knows what ERP is. One large tech supplier "buys" all Google searches for ERP and they found that it's only other Accounting software suppliers or their own staff that search on Google for ERP.
2. The second recommendation is that selling companies need to be engaging earlier in the sales cycle. That should be easy, but companies find it so difficult. Why? Because they sell. Nobody gets up in the morning and says "today I need to talk to a salesperson". Buyers want help and all sellers do is push buyers away with the constant pitching.
So what can you do?
Have a great LinkedIn profile, what some people call buyer centric. Demonstrate your expertise in a human way. The more authentic you can be the better. Buyers are looking for experts, they can trust, not salespeople who will ram their products down people's throats.
Have a network. This is a contact base of people that know and love you. Not a bunch of contacts. You want people who can refer you, people who will like, engage and share your content. You want to have contacts across the decision making parts of your territory.
Finally you need content. Content that is insightful, educational, content that will inspire your prospects and customers. You can find this for free on apps like Flipboard or you can write it yourself. We teach all our salespeople who go through our programs to blog and this is transformational. Both for the sales people and the overall knock on effect for the business.
The report suggests a number of remedies that vendors should consider to address this buying confusion. The first part is to get involved at an early stage – 48% of the buyers surveyed claimed that they were most receptive to challenges to their thinking when they were beginning their research and exploration, compared to 14% when they had started to select vendors and products. Fewer than 1 in 10 (9%) claimed they were open when they were analyzing selected vendors or products.