Best Practices

Inside Sales – The Changing Nature of the Buyer

Christopher Tuttle

Within the past few years, there has been a huge shift in the behavior that buyers have traditionally had. Less than 5 years ago, the majority of buyers weren’t as actively engaged on social media sites, and didn’t conduct as much independent research on products or services before purchasing.

Instead, buyers relied on sales reps, referrals, trade shows, and traditional advertising for information and would make their purchase decisions based on this information. This was the world of information scarcity. In a recent eBook published by XANT and Marketo, Jon Miller of Marketo talked about this principle and provided some interesting insights.

In the current market, we have the complete opposite problem. “Today, there has been an explosion of readily available information on the web and other social channels,” Miller said. “This is a relatively recent phenomenon in the careers of marketing and sales people and the amount of information being created is expanding.”

This new buyer is highly informed and, as a result, has completely changed the way that sales and marketing interact with the buyer. As an interesting fact, SiriusDecisions has said that buyers today often complete 70% of their buying process before engaging with a sales person.

So how do sales and marketing change their game to impact this new buyer? For a start, your marketing process needs to change to a large, top-of-funnel approach, according to Miller. “You need to generate as many leads as possible,” he said. “That means running more programs like webinars, tradeshows, social campaigns, and online ads. It also means leveraging your word-of-mouth and influence marketing.”

Of course, with every top-of-funnel campaign it’s important to remember that these leads are not yet ready to be sold to. They need to be nurtured by marketing until they are sending your team buying signals – pricing pages, product demos, etc. Miller says that only when they start showing these signs do you “fast track them to sales so that sale responds to that interest quickly and appropriately.”

Have you noticed a change in the behavior of your buyers? What changes have you implemented as a sales and marketing team to react to this shift? Let us know in the comment box.

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