What does the purchasing journey look like?
It is still a widely regarded fact that people buy from people. However, the impact of not only the pandemic but also the development of social media has undoubtedly changed what the purchasing journey now looks like.
We need to start by considering what the customer has already done before they even engage with you. How much research do they complete, and have they even discounted you without you knowing, simply because your online presence isn’t in synergy with what they are looking for? Research shows that 94% of B2B buyers say that they conduct online research before making a buying decision. Therefore, it is no longer enough to have a great website. Every online platform is a vital tool to be leveraged in order to reach your ideal customer.
A well-established business that demonstrates high levels of experience and company longevity brings about an element of trust. When a company has been robust enough to withstand the ups and downs of the economy it is natural to feel there is more reliability in their service or product. However, it is also a sign that the company can evolve and adapt if they have continued to move w1ith the times. Therefore, it is no longer enough to rely on your industry reputation or a name that it widely recognised. Businesses need to demonstrate that they understand what their potential customers are looking for by sharing that information with the public via their social media and other marketing channels. A company’s history of proven success is one of the qualities the customer is searching for when they are viewing social media platforms and websites.
So, could solution selling be the new name for objection handling? Objection handling often took place towards the end of the purchasing process where it was down to the salesperson to handle these issues in order to close the sale. Solution selling is proactive instead of reactive. It means sharing the information through your online platform that solves the most common issues your customers face. If your ideal customer can read information that resolves potential concerns, they may have then you will already have caught their interest.
A relationship once established needs to be sustained not just maintained. Again, the online presence of a business is a great tool to do this alongside the personal direct communication such as the regular phone calls and agreed reviews. If you are providing interesting and valuable content in the form of posts, published articles, blogs etc then your customers are far more likely to remain engaged with you even with the purchase has been completed. Here you are building on the trust and professional relationship with a view to the longevity of the connection.
Once we understand the purchasing journey of the customer it is then time to look at where we fit into this? At what point do we get involved? At Baker Leasing we find we join this journey at varying points depending on who we are on the journey with. With our existing customers we are by their side from day one. When a company is looking to make purchases often there are times when they come to Baker Leasing ahead of time to find out the likely budget available to them and realistic forecasts for the fixed monthly payments. Once equipped with this information as a guide they review their plans and we look at areas for potential investment. Alternatively, our customers come to us with a purchase (or sometimes a list of purchases) they wish to make. We are then able to explore the options available to them and come up with the best financial solution that meets their demands. For the resellers we partner with, we are involved with them as soon as their customers are requesting quotes, supporting the journey from their perspective as much as they would like.
So, the question is do businesses need to change anything to align themselves with how their customers’ buying journey has evolved? Maybe rather than make the judgement ourselves we should be asking the question directly of our customers? This applies to all sectors; the B2B and B2C including the high street itself.