The modern B2B sales landscape has shifted dramatically, and successful sales teams must adjust by practicing buyer enablement and providing customers with the guidance and information they need at precisely the right moment.
Gartner's research finds that B2B buyers only spend 17% of their time meeting with potential suppliers when they’re considering a purchase. At the same time, B2B now involves more stakeholders. The median buying group for B2B solutions involves six to 10 decision-makers who have each gathered four or five pieces of information during their research.
In a Gartner survey of over 250 B2B buyers, 77% said their purchasing experience was extremely difficult or complex.
Brent Adamson, a principal executive advisor at Gartner, says, “The hardest part of B2B solutions isn’t selling them, but buying them. Today’s buying journey has effectively reached a tipping point where it’s become nearly unnavigable without a significant amount of help.”
The buying process has become a long, hard slog – but buyer enablement can make it easier on customers by helping them build a compelling business case for your product.
Let’s look at how you can simplify the buying process and win more customers with buyer enablement.
What is buyer enablement?
Buyer enablement is the process of making the buying process as simple as possible by providing the tools, knowledge, and guidance buyers need to build consensus within their organization and make a purchase from your sales team.
According to Gartner – the organization that coined the term – buyer enablement falls into two categories:Prescriptive advice or recommendations that ease customer decision-making burdens.
- Practical support and tools that customers can use to follow through on the prescriptive advice.
Buyer enablement vs. sales enablement: what’s the difference?
Sales enablement provides your sales reps with the training, content, tools, and guidance they need to close deals. Buyer enablement makes the buying and decision-making journey easier for customers to navigate by getting them the information they need at the right time.
When done correctly, these two sales pieces fit together: Your sales enablement methods empower your sales team to enable buyers.
What buyer enablement content looks like: 5 examples
B2B customers want information that helps them simplify the purchasing process in today’s complex buying environment.
Gartner reports that customers are more likely to spend more with less regret when B2B solution suppliers provide helpful information that moves the buying process forward. This type of useful information is buyer enablement content.
Here are five examples of buyer enablement content:
Interactive lead-generation calculators answer your prospect’s most pressing questions by providing a simple, structured way to analyze data and run calculations on things like ROI. Calculators can also help you gather valuable data about your customers' needs.
A simulation is a visual representation of a real process. When used as buyer enablement tools, simulations can demonstrate how your solution will work in the customer’s context and provide a framework for identifying options, requirements, and assessing performance.
Advisor or coach
Sales reps can act as coaches and advisors during the sales process, helping customers:
- Identify underlying challenges
- Understand the implementation of the solution
- Build a case for your solution, so they can align stakeholders and build consensus
- Validate that your solution will do what they need it to do
Coaching conversations also build trust with your customers, so they feel more confident during the buying process.
By providing customers with comparison data, you empower them to assess your solution when it’s stacked up against competitors in your industry.
Checklists are lists of critical requirements and considerations that customers need to consider during the buying decision.
How to leverage buyer enablement content to increase buyer confidence
The key to buyer enablement is addressing the buyer with the right message at the right time, in a format that works for them. Here are five best practices for creating buyer enablement content that delivers value throughout the buying journey.
Understand your audience
Today’s B2B buying process involves six to 10 decision-makers. Ensure you understand all the players involved and their roles within the buying group:
- What are the critical factors for each person?
- What is most important to them?
- What are some ways to give the entire sales team what they need to reach a consensus?
Interviews and focus groups can help you understand the full scope of buyer problems and pain points. Then you can get a grasp on all the major players that need to build consensus before moving forward with the purchase.
Align content to the correct stage of the buying cycle
According to Gartner, six major tasks need to be completed before purchasing:
- 1.Problem identification
- 2.Solution exploration
- 3.Requirements building
- 4.Supplier selection
- 6.Consensus creation
Customers spend approximately two-thirds of their B2B buying journey learning from any content they can find, so the type of content you produce matters significantly. Create valuable, targeted content for each stage or task in the buying journey.
Provide easy access to content (even when offline)
Digital sales rooms (DSRs), which have emerged as a standard element of virtual selling, support a customer-centric buyer experience.
A DSR is a centralized, secure space that acts as a living resource for buyers for interactive sales collateral and content. Having a DSR eliminates the problem of having to share content as multiple email attachments, which can get lost or be challenging to share or search.
With a digital sales room, customers can log into the platform and access their own sales room full of personalized content and assets for their convenience. They can view anything they need on-demand, as well as invite other stakeholders to view the information by sharing access to the DSR.
Be where the buyers are
One of the key foundations of buyer enablement is having a flexible sales process that allows buyers to learn and purchase when and where they want to.
Omni-channel engagement is a multichannel approach that provides customers with a seamless buying experience – whether they’re looking for information from a desktop web browser, mobile device, brick-and-mortar office, or on social media – is the key to empowering buyers with the tools they need to build a business case for your solution at their company.
Implement an omni-channel B2B strategy by:
- Identifying your most valuable buying segments and figuring out their engagement patterns and communication preferences. Research the information that will be most valuable to each segment at each stage of the buying process and how they prefer to consume that information.
- Design your buyer’s experience based on these segments and their preferences. For instance, you may have a customer persona that strongly prefers SMS marketing messaging when making a purchase. Provide several channels for customers to get the information they need in the format they most appreciate. Assume that most customers will use more than one channel during their information-gathering and buying stages.
- Ensure you’re providing a seamless customer experience across all your channels, including your digital sales room, email marketing, phone calls, and SMS.
Leverage buyer enablement technology
Buyer enablement software solutions like Pitcher help you engage with all stakeholders so they can automatically learn about your solution in the most relevant way.
Pitcher’s built-in buyer enablement analytics help you track what kind of content each type of stakeholder is consuming and when, as well as who they’re sharing it with. This lets you see how content is performing and personalize your omni-channel buyer enablement campaigns for every step of the buyer journey.
With Pitcher, you can make buying easier for your customers, giving you a substantial competitive advantage as the B2B decision-making and buying process becomes more complex.
Get in touch today to find out how Pitcher can help you become a master of buyer enablement, shorten your sales cycle, close more deals and increase post-purchase buyer satisfaction.
Common FAQs about buyer enablement
What is buyer enablement?
Buyer enablement makes the purchase process easier for customers by providing the knowledge, tools, and guidance customers need to gather requirements, compare solutions, build consensus, and make the buy.
What are the stages of the B2B buying process?
Gartner says that nearly every B2B purchase spans six distinct “jobs” that buyers must complete to make a purchase.
- Problem identification
- Solution exploration
- Requirements building
- Supplier selection
- Consensus creation
Is using a buyer enablement strategy effective?
Providing information to the buyer makes the purchase process easier. Buyer enablement content helps buyers complete each task in the purchasing process because it is targeted, consistent, highly shareable, and channel-agnostic.