How to Drive an Effective Sales Process to win Buyer Trust?

Aparna Shah
November 11, 2022

B2B sales have always been more about the buyer than the seller. So any effective sales model must adapt to changing buying preferences instead of ignoring or resisting them. While many of the processes we set up today drive internal accountability rather than the buyer experience, the emerging digital buying behavior is forcing sales teams to act differently. This is a big transition for companies where sales training, sales enablement tools, and wider organizational processes reflect assumptions that enabling sellers to deliver great buyer experience is the answer to modern buyer preferences.

 Today, buyers have more control over the buying process. Knowing this, how can sales teams facilitate a smoother sales process, remove friction and close more sales? It starts with acknowledging modern buyers' power in their buying journey and changing our internal processes to suit this change. 

Easier said than done. Right?

Sales Process > Product Knowledge

Ensuring sales reps are right on message and task is foundational to sales success. But too often, we are focused on product knowledge (or seller-focused enablement) and miss the boat on creating an excellent buying experience and how to enable sellers to deliver it consistently. Today, the extent of sales process enablement is limited to upfront training and defining gates in the CRM to drive the right behavior. 

If you are like most companies, chances are that you have several equally competent competitors who offer similar products, solutions or services. Your ability to differentiate what you offer against the competition is becoming increasingly challenging. From the buyers’ lens, every vendor speaks the same language and looks and feels the same. 

So what is that we could be doing differently? The answer is obvious, yet it has never been a critical focus. In fact, several analyst firms, including Forrester and Gartner, have spoken about this in recent years. 

It is the buyer experience.

Let's unpack this a little bit. What goes into a great buying experience? Great discovery, clear success plan, stakeholder experience or something else? The answer is all of this. Modern buyers buy experiences, not products. They settle for nothing less than immaculate experience-led solutions, whether they're browsing through what movies to watch or purchasing an enterprise solution. If your buyer sees your sales cycle process is aligned with their goals, they will engage better, and you will see your process adoption more consistently among your sellers.

Building an effective and scalable sales process adoption

Today, sales efforts will only work if your sales organization truly understands what buyers value, how they gather information, and how purchase decisions get made. Unfortunately, even the most immaculate sales methodologies fail to comprehend their buyer’s journey. How? Let's look at one of the most popular sales qualification methodology - MEDDIC. While this checklist and associated sales training have been valuable for understanding what motivates your buyer or prompts them into action for years, this methodology does not resonate with the new business buyer needs. 

For starters, while it helps sellers with guidance on what and how to execute, it doesn’t capture how the buyer responds to it or if they agree with the sellers’ interpretation. With buyers expecting more transparency and collaboration, MEDDIC has to contribute to your buyers directly. The practice of MEDDIC lays primary emphasis on two primary stakeholders - The Economic Buyer and the Champion. However, today's buying journey involves other stakeholders who do not have the same role as the above yet significantly contribute to the buying decision. With cross-functional teams involved in the decision-making process, it is imperative that your seller maps stakeholders and plans his course of action accordingly. 

Are your sellers successful in identifying the champion buyers? Is there a consistent process in the organization? If so, how do you know if it followed consistently? How much time do managers spend validating the seller's actions? 

Moving beyond traditional Sales Enablement Tools 

Sales enablement tools have clear objectives - ensure sellers have the knowledge, skill and content. But what goes into delivering a great buying experience goes well beyond that. 

Great buyer experience needs the execution of a well-designed sales process. A buyer-aligned sales process drives genuine buy-in from the sales force because it simply makes sense. It's how today's buyers buy that matters more, and that makes it the right way to sell, who doesn't want to be viewed by their customer as a thought leader who is helpful and consultative? 

There are three things that your sellers should do to deliver a great buying experience:

  1. Know Your Relationships: Identify buyer stakeholders, map their expectations and preferences, execute a strategy to win their trust and ultimately curate a standout value proposition that helps them get that collective “yes” that takes them to another stage of the deal. Champion enablement is a crucial step to winning the collective yes. 
  2. Know the Value: Understand the evaluation criteria and how it connects to the business objectives, and ensure everyone in the team is working towards helping your buyers realize value.
  3. Know Buying Process: Every buyer is different. A rigid sales process will not serve most enterprise buyer preferences. Designing your sales process to be malleable to the buyer journey will be crucial to a great buying experience and predictable win. 

Reimagining the Ethos of Modern Selling 

When you understand your buyer’s end goals, map their journey, identify clear and verifiable outcomes for each stage, and develop a dynamic buyer-aligned sales process, you’re, in a way helping your sales front collaborate better with buyers with greater value. 

It’s time for B2B sales leaders to take control of the sales execution and not leave buyer experience to chance. Perhaps, enablement 2.0 is all about this. 



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