It’s the grand opening of your brand new brick and mortar store.
Leading up to the big day, you tell the world about it. On the morning of the grand opening, there are hundreds of people lined up outside your store, ready to go in and buy.
But instead of letting people inside, you ask everyone to fill out a short survey–their name, their address, and a couple other questions. Then you send most of them home, saying you’ll contact them later to set up a time to talk about what you sell.
Sounds absurd, right?
Of course it does. But it’s how a ton of B2B companies run their sales process.
Not surprisingly, this causes three massive problems that threaten sales efficiency and your bottom line.
The first problem: By not talking to your prospects when they land on your site, you add a ton of time to an already lengthy B2B sales cycle. Despite the fact that time is money, most businesses still don’t have a way to chat 1:1 with the prospects on their website.
The second: By not engaging prospects in conversation when they land on your site, you destroy lead velocity when it matters the most. By choosing not to capitalize on the high intent of a fresh visitor to your site, you defer conversation and dampen a prospect’s interest in your product.
The third problem with the old fashioned B2B sales process?
It gets you further away from prospects than you should be. This removes any sense of urgency for both the buyer and the seller, and makes it easy for a prospect to go with a competitor, or ghost you entirely during the sales process.
So, what’s the solution?
If you want to shorten your sales cycle, capitalize on the traffic your marketing team is driving to your site, and get closer to your customers, then you’ve got to practice conversational sales. Give your prospects a way to reach out to you to get the information they need, when they need it.
Once you’ve implemented a conversational approach, you’ll optimize your sales process in a few key ways.
Optimization #1 – Shorter sales cycle.
The B2B sales cycle is unnecessarily complicated for the buyer and the seller. As a result, the sales cycle is long, and prospects are becoming disengaged early on–a huge red flag.
Want proof something’s not working?
That’s absurd–but we’ve engineered it that way with the use of forms and the endless back and forth that goes along with scheduling, and other activities.
But practicing conversational sales can change that. All it requires is that you make it easier for your prospects to talk to you. And you can do this easily through chat–either staffed by your sales reps, or with a bot when you don’t have enough coverage.
This allows your sales process to move at the speed your prospects demand–not how your business dictates. When this occurred to British marketing agency Six and Flow, they decided to do away with forms and made it possible to talk to customers in real-time on their site.
Optimization #2 – More conversions.
The more hoops you make your prospects jump through during the sales process, the greater the odds of losing them. It’s a lesson Ben Nettlesheim, Senior Director of Digital Marketing at SalesRabbit, experienced first-hand.
Even though Nettlesheim was driving qualified leads to his website–and people were even submitting forms to request meetings with reps–only a few were converting into meetings booked.
When he examined the process more closely, he discovered that it was due to the lengthy back and forth that took place when trying to book a meeting. After that form was submitted it sometimes took several days or even weeks before the sales call happened. In that time, many prospects lost interest, went with competitors, or dropped off entirely.
To remedy the situation, Nettlesheim had to make it easier for people to book meetings with sales reps when they landed on his site. So he added a chatbot that operated 24/7. When a prospect hit the site and wanted to book a meeting, all they had to do was engage with the bot, and it automatically served up available meeting times for prospects to choose from. The chatbot even added meetings to reps’ calendars automatically.
✔With that simple change, Nettlesheim booked a massive 40% more demos for his sales team.
Optimization #3 – It’ll be easier for people to buy.
Every business should be trying to make it easier for prospects to buy.
And by making a B2B buyer endure endless back and forth just to schedule a sales call or get a question answered, then you’re not doing enough to make that happen. What’s more, without a means of engaging with a prospect immediately when they land on your site, you’re putting a strain on overall sales velocity. In the long run, this can seriously impede the efficiency of your sales activities.
But, more importantly, this lengthy, drawn-out sales process simply doesn’t match the way the modern B2B buyer makes a purchase.
In a world where a whopping 90% of consumers say they’d prefer to message a business to get answers, we need to be thinking of ways to make the B2B sales process as frictionless as B2C. And that starts with something as simple as a conversational sales approach.
Conversational Sales Is Good for Customers And Your Business
You wouldn’t hold a grand opening for your brand new store and send all the customers away after filling out a form. Doesn’t make sense for any company, much less those in the business of selling to other businesses.
But today, many businesses are still doing that. We’re working hard to drive interest and awareness to our site, but once the leads have landed on the page, we’re telling them to wait days–sometimes weeks–to talk to a rep. That just isn’t right.
Conversational sales has the power to change that.
By putting the buyer’s needs first, sales goes a long way towards winning trust and developing more meaningful connections with prospects. And, in committing to this approach, we also make the sales process vastly more efficient.