Staying Involved at Every Step of the Buyer’s Journey

See how becoming a trusted resource through social selling can help you to hitch a ride on the buyer’s self-directed journey.

September 15, 2016

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Before the Internet became an inescapable part of everyday life, sales reps exerted a certain level of control over their buyers’ impressions and purchasing decisions. But over the past decade or so, that situation has changed considerably.

When customers don’t need (or want) to be sold to, what’s an expert salesperson to do? Ultimately, the best option is to become a valuable and trusted resource. That way, your ideal prospects will choose to engage you first—and social selling can help you get there.

The New Buyer’s Journey

With a few distinct stages, the buyer’s journey essentially represents the path that customers take as they research, evaluate their options, and make purchasing decisions. Though there’s always competition in sales, it used to be easier for sales reps to direct this journey through cold-calling and scripted pitches.

But with the increasing role of the Internet and social media, buyers can now do much of that research on their own—forging their out route to an eventual purchase. In fact, according to CEB, the average B2B buyer is 57% through their purchasing decision before they even engage a sales rep.

In this shifting world, sales reps need to find an effective way to stay relevant by involving themselves in the buyer’s journey.

Becoming a Resource

Though it’s not easy, the solution is simple: become an important resource to your prospects. Though modern customers can glean a lot of the information online, they still crave the advice of an expert—someone who knows the territory and stays up on the latest industry news. By providing valued insights and knowledge, you can become that trusted advisor.

As content marketing strategist Gerry Moran writes, sales reps have become a bit like hitchhikers—doing their best to latch onto the buyer’s ride. “By being consultative and providing relevant information, you can … be asked on the next trip before it starts,” writes Moran.

The Role of Social Selling

One of the fastest ways to build your reputation as an adviser and a resource is through social selling. In fact, your buyers are already going to social media, including LinkedIn, as they conduct their own research. Through social selling best practices, you can meet them there, establishing yourself as the go-to contact when they have questions or concerns.

Social selling can help you to win deals at multiple stages of the buyer’s journey. For example, in the early “awareness” stage, when a prospect first realizes they have a problem that needs solving, you can attract them with a polished, useful profile. Later, in the “consideration” and “decision” stages, you can position yourself as an expert by writing and sharing insightful content that’s relevant to their concerns.

Buyers control their own destinies in many respects, but that doesn’t mean that sales reps shouldn’t play a role, too. By using social selling to become a reserve of information, you can ensure that your prospects won’t leave you behind.

For more tips on using social selling at every stage of the buyer’s journey, download our eBook today.