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David Mills
By David Mills on August 12, 2022

How Your Buyer's Digital Experience is Shaping Sales Performance

The way that buyers engage has changed, and it is having a big impact on sales.  Your digital buyer and your sales performance discussed in this webinar.


realign with the buyer


During our webinar today, we'll be talking about how your buyer's digital experience is shaping sales performance. And this is a huge topic. That's significant for many folks. Here are a couple of things for you to think about the first one, is this a lost lead? Someone who comes to, -, learn about you comes to your website and, -, just leaves or, -, even though they may have been a good fit, if they leave, they are worth about 20% of whatever your.

Profit would've been from that customer. So every lead you lose is worth about 20%. Here's another stat that's really important. And that is at about 80% of all. Buyers are starting online. And even if you meet them in a relational manner, even if they heard about you from someone else, they are. First going to check you out.

-, and they are going to visit your website. Most people, -, do not purchase a loan. They purchase in a group, a team, or a buying committee, and that buying committee is going to also, -, look at your website. So I wanna go over today. I think some interesting information. The first thing is that really things have changed.

Buyers are really in charge of the process. When we say, buyers. We're talking about anyone. That's a decision maker, no matter what you call them, you might call them a client. You might call them a customer, but they, at the beginning, at least they are a buyer because they do not know, -, what it is that you offer.

They haven't experienced it yet. And so they are in charge and here's a quote I like from, -, from Ben, he says that buyers aren't starting from square one anymore. By the time they have a conversation with. They're already at square three or four, they have self-educated. They have, -, informed themselves about what they wanna buy.

People wanna feel smart when they are buying. They wanna make a smart decision. Buyers are driving the purchase process, -, themselves. They're starting without you. They're doing that online. And if they can't make progress, they're gonna just move on to somewhere that they. So I want to go over some of the elements of what we look at when a buyer comes to consider your product or service.

So I've got a picture here. This might not look like your buyer, but it might. So you can just put in place your, -, in your mind what that person might look like. -, I think it's important that we think about who those buyers are. -, sometimes they are purchasing for themself. Sometimes they're pur sometimes they're purchasing for their company.

Sometimes they're purchasing for a family member. And so as we think about who the buyer is, -, it's critical. We understand that they are coming to you and they are networked. That means they are fully capable of getting information on their own, in the senior services area, sometimes we get some pushback and people say, well, seniors really aren't searching for services.

Well, the truth is yes, they are. They are very, -, they're high cons-ers on YouTube and video. -, and the second thing is that many seniors are purchasing with the assistance of someone else. A, an adult child may be deciding for them. So the buyer once again is not alone. They are networked. They're networked socially, but they're also networked digitally and they have all the power to get all the information that they feel they want or need, -, in the process.

So they're coming to you and they are looking for very specific things. So obviously the place they're going to come is to your website and when they come to your website, here are the things that they need to get done in order to make a. And this is almost always before they talk to you. The first thing that they want to get done is they wanna align on the problem.

So they are not coming. In most cases, they are not coming with a specific solution in mind. If they already have a solution in mind, then they have been heavily influenced by others. Providers other vendors. And so they've been educated by someone else about what they should be buying. And the buyer that you want should be a person who is who's focused on solving a problem or reaching a goal.

So when they come to you and they come to your website, Their first, -, focus is on their problem, their challenge or their goal. That is what they are thinking about. Now, if you think about most websites that you visit, how many of them address the specific challenge or problem that a person might be facing?

-, in the top half of the homepage and the answer is almost zero. -, our score that we give that as we, we look at hundreds of websites every week, we would give that about a 13, -, 13% of, of websites have. Problem indication. That a buyer can align on right near the top of the web, -, webpage. Usually what we have, -, at the beginning of a webpage is about us.

realign with the buyer

And so if we only give a solution at the top of a webpage, then we are not giving the buyer the chance to align on the problem. We are ass-ing that they have been able to. -, and to figure out that our solution is the answer to their problem, but that is pretty far down the road in the decision cycle.

And so some examples of that might be just thinking about all the different kinds of weight loss and exercise and nutrition programs. There is a person who's looking for help. -, they, if they've already decided they want X, Y, Z program, then someone has educated. Then, other folks who are looking have a problem they're trying to solve.

They feel weak. They feel lackluster. They know they have a health issue. That's what they're thinking about. So they need problem alignment from you before they talk solution. Let's push this over into the senior care industry, -, in senior care. People are looking to solve a problem of safety in the home, -, help with meals, -, and other daily, -, daily necessities that have to be assisted with transportation companionship.

So they are trying to solve a problem for a loved one. -, that's what they need to align on. If we push this into the B2B space. -, we have people that are looking for specific solutions, -, but they also have problems they're trying to solve. And so the problem alignment has to be really top of mind.

When you think about how the buyer experiences your website, you can look at your website right now and you can rate it for yourself. Are you aligning on the problem? First thing with the client, -, if you don't align on the problem, then who knows if they'll even get to the right solution.. Or even asked the right question.

So it's very significant. The second thing that people are looking for when they are, when they're beginning to, -, look for a solution to a problem is they wanna know what, what it costs. This is really a feasibility question at this point. It's not, can I afford it necessarily? It's is this in the ballpark for me?

It's not what it's not do I want this? Is it valuable enough for me to buy it? Would I pay that much? That's not what the pricing is about. It's about FEAS. Can I do, this is this, this is, is this something I could even pursue? And so this is an early question that people ask. And in many cases, if there is no pricing available on a website, people will just leave.

And so you'll see a lot of websites today. Will you give this about a 20%? A lot of websites today. -, if you ask for pricing, they'll say talk to sales. And so immediately that signals to the buyer, this is gonna be complicated and expensive. -, and that may both things may be true, but it does not resolve this issue for the buyer.

They wanna know what the pricing is. -, and so you have to be able to give that to them in a way they can cons-e. You don't have to give all the information, but you have to give enough that they have a sense of what the costs are. The next thing your buyer is looking for when they come to visit your website is they are looking to see if they can answer their own questions.

They want self-service. -, and part of this is driven by just the, -, the network nature of our buyers. They want to be able to answer their own questions. They wanna be able to do their own research. They wanna do that research whenever they want to, however, they want on their mobile device, on their, on their iPad in the evening.

-, when they're on the train, When they are surfing the web, you know, with their family on the weekend, when they're watching TV, they want us to answer their own questions. -, so this is a pre-sale issue. They have to be able to answer their own questions easily. If they can't answer their own questions, then they're gonna have a very hard time believing that they'll be able to do this after they buy.

So self-service is both pre-sale. And post-sale. If you don't give 'em the ability to self-educate before they buy, then they are gonna ass-e they won't be able to self-educate after they buy. And then they'll be stuck in their minds. They'll be stuck in your long customer service queue. They won't be able to take care of things themselves.

So it's a big deal for buyers today. Another thing that buyers will look at, we give that about 25%. -, and, -, some, some businesses are pretty good at giving people information that they can cons-e and educate themselves. Others are really bad, a lot don't have anything. So the next thing that we wanna do is we wanna remove a worry.

So this buyer, -, it comes to you has anxiety. They have fears. They have fears about purchasing from you. They have fears about spending the money. They have fears about what kind of engagement, -, you're gonna require from them. And so it's really important that they have a, a way to address those anxieties and fears.

We'll talk in a couple of minutes about what happens if you don't do this, but, the buyer. Now the way we traditionally deal with this is we put logos, we put certifications, we put testimonials on our website, and that is how we communicate that we are safe to work with. And those are all good and important things.

Those are what we would call, check the box kind of things. The problem is they don't really address the worries or anxieties that your buyer has because everyone else has logos and certifications and testimonials on their website. Two. And so those become in some ways just noise and the buyer expects to see those testimonials.

They don't believe they're true. -, they're on your website. You probably fabricated them. That's the cynical mind speaking. And so they. Are not gonna have their worries alleviated. So in a buyer journey, which we always do before we build a website, we always address what are the top worries of this customer.

What do we need to help them understand or get over? So they do not come into this process with lots of anxiety. The next thing your buyer is. Looking for, and we give that about 25% and, and it's probably lower than that because most websites do not address this at all. They simply use the logo, and testimonial certification deal, which is not enough.

The next one is a frictionless experience. So. Customers of all kinds, business buyers, -, cons-ers, everyone who purchases, which is everyone has been trained that the purchasing experience is supposed to be seamless. Where do they learn this? They first learn this from streaming media. They can, they can easily watch, -, in a predictive manner that the streaming service knows what you like.

It'll serve you more of what you like. It'll remind you that something's out. -, it's it happens in banking. It happens in healthcare. It happens in travel. It happens everywhere. And so our buyers have been trained that the digital experience of what's happening online with them has to be frictionless and smart.

They expect, I actually expect your website to be a lot smarter than it probably. And so we would give this about a 15% rating on most of the websites that we look at. -, there is not a seamless experience. It is, it is challenging. It's hard. It's hard to find what you want. There's too much information.

There's no guided path to resolve my problem. And so it is hardly frictionless. -, and the purchasing options are limited. And so it's important that you understand that your buyers are looking for this. They want a frictionless experience. -, the next one is that your buyer, when they experience you in a digital space, -, before they become a customer they need to get value from every step, every encounter.

And so what typically happens is the opposite. We want to tell them about ourselves. We want to get them to give them, give us the information that's for us, not them. And we're not really giving them value. And so if you think about the last time you read something or saw a video or an article that actually really helped you, that was a valuable experience.

And so your website, the digital experience with your buyer has to deliver. Value at each step. So, -, that everything you ask them to do has to be, to give them value and you have to be helping them solve their problem from the very beginning before they're even your customer. That's critical. Very, I would say this is pretty low.

We rank it at about 7%. For most of websites. We look at not a lot of value being given. We had a very nice compliment given to us by one of our customers, which we appreciate. She said the reason I came to you is that when I went to your website, you were so generous. And that's the idea here. We have to give value if we want people to give value back to us.

realign with the buyer

And that's significant. -, the next one of these that we think is really significant is authenticity and passion. And so one of the things that set you apart in the digital experience is whether or not your prospective buyer can figure out if you are authentic and passionate about what you if you, if you just kind of look like everybody else and it feels just like everybody else, there's no spark in what they're experiencing, then you really will not stand out and you will not connect with them.

They need to know that you are a company or a nonprofit or a provider, or professional. You are authentic and passionate. -, people are not really interested in more kind of sales speak or. Kind of proforma, boilerplate stuff. They want something that's fresh, authentic, and passionate. That conveys a lot to them.

If you're not passionate about what you do, then they should probably run and not do business with you. You got that has to be part of the experience. And so this is. Mixed bag. -, we give it a 25%. There are, there are some websites that do a really good job with this. -, it tends to be better in the nonprofit sector.

It tends to be better, -, in some of the startup spaces, -, it tends to be better in some professional services, but in a lot of places, there's no passion at all. And authenticity is simply not present. -, authenticity means that you're honest about the industry you're in and the challenges that you face.

And you're not just giving kind of canned sales information, but you're being, -, truthful in a way that makes it meaningful to the buyer. The last thing that your website has to be able to do for the network. Buyer is your buyer has to be able to understand the steps that you're gonna take them down in order to get from where they are with a problem to having a good solution.

They just want to know what the next few steps are. They do not want to be just railroaded into something. So, -, go to the pricing page. It says, talks to sales. Well, what do I get out of that? Where's the value in that? -, what's the process? What happens next? -, if I was a home care provider and someone was, -, my, my phone website says, call us, we'll talk to you.

What will you talk to me about? What will I get out of the phone call? Is there any value in this? Are you just gonna try and sell me? What's the process? -, the same, thing's true. If you provide professional services of some kind, what's the process that you're gonna take people through to help them? They need to know that it doesn't have to be highly detailed, but it has to be present.

And that's very significant. So let's talk for a minute about what happens when we don't do these things. So when the digital experience falls short, what's happening is, first of all, it's really important. You understand that the networked buyer can check out your website anytime they want, and they will.

You can check your bounce rate. I'll give you a way to check your bounce rate at the end of the workshop today, check your bounce rate. You'll see that, -, a lot of people just come and leave and they do it very quickly. -, Google's watching that to see what's happening, but if we don't, -, if we don't do something different than everybody else, then they're gonna, they're gonna check out.

And so when we fail in any of these eight areas in the digital experience, then we're encouraging people to check out the ones that don't check. Who stick with it for some reason, -, we are creating problems for ourselves. We're decreasing sales, -, impacts. We're making the burden on the sales process harder.

We're making salespeople work longer and harder and having to catch up because we're not doing the job that the buyer went to our website to do. They went to have these things resolved by the time they get to the sales conversation, these things should already be resolved. But if we don't, we're putting all of that onto the sales.

And so we've disappointed the buyer and the digital experience, and now we have to fix it in this sales or in-person experience. So the first thing is, -, we have to align on the problem. So we haven't helped the buyer to understand how we help with various problems. So all of that goes back to the SU the salesperson who's making the sale.

And what happens is if we don't align on the problem, we're gonna push off most buyers, except for those who are either already know us already trust us, -, who are absolutely ready to buy. So I wanna show you a chart that describes this process. This is, this is called the demand generation chart. So this shows, -, the way that buyers purchase.

So this is the impact of poor problem alignment. So in the very top square, we have about 3% of buyers who know what they want, they're ready to buy. They have a good amount of information. -, this is where everyone else competes. This is where the entire market, all of your competitors are trying to win this three.

We call that the red ocean, this is the place where it's the most competitive. It's the hardest to win. There's the most competitive. And if we do not align on the problem with our buyers, we are keeping ourselves in the red ocean. And we are sloughing off the rest, the world of buyers, which happens to be 97%.

Now, if we look at the rest of this chart, this is I think, a relatively accurate chart, about 30% of people have no interest. 30% of people don't think they're interested. 30% of people are indifferent. They're not doing anything about it right now. They actually have the problem. -, but they just, haven't prioritized it.

7% are open to a conversation. So there's really about 67% of people that we could be reaching. Clearly, there's 37% of the market that is, that has the problem, or is open to it. And this is where the blue ocean is. This is where. We can begin to redefine the relationship. This is where the competition is much lower.

realign with the buyer

And so aligning on the problem has to be a top priority in the digital experience online. Otherwise, you're, first of all, sloughing them off. And secondly, you're putting your salespeople in the most competitive, challenging position possible, and they haven't even aligned on the the problem yet when they get to the conversation.

So the next thing, so we're forcing buyers away. We're making it hard on sales, if and pricing, if you don't provide some pricing information, then the very first question your sales conversation's gonna have to focus on is what does it cost now buyers wanna know what it costs is actually a good sign.

That they wanna know what it costs cause it means they're interested, but it's not what we wanna talk about in the first part of the sales process, the sales process has to define what you, what your need is, what your problem is, what your challenge is. It has to really get, -, get clear on that and make sure that it's important enough.

But the person's willing to pay what you charge to fix it. So if we don't give pricing information online, then we're just putting all of that on sales. And we're basically torpedoing our own sales process by forcing it to be all about price. If we don't provide self-service in educating yourself about how to buy, then we're gonna, we're gonna create a question, -, about how hard it's gonna be to work with.

If it's this hard to get information, have you been to a website where you're trying to get some information about someone and you just couldn't get the information you wanted and you couldn't call them or didn't want to call them? That's frustrating for people. So self-service is really a prerequisite.

People have to be able to answer their own questions. Otherwise, we're creating a nagging question that sales have to address, and all of these things are a drag on the sales process. It means slower closing. It means fewer closing. If we don't address the worries and fears, -, that people have when they are doing their searching, first of all, they're gonna go somewhere else.

That will. -, but secondly, we are putting that into the sales conversation and, you know, fears and anxieties tip tend to get translated into objections. In a sales conversation. So when people have fears and anxieties, they're often going to find a way to bring those in as an objection to what you're trying to say.

So we're setting sales up to have more objections because we have not dealt with anxieties and fears in the digital experience that happened before the sales conversation. So that's a very big deal because objections are the kind of things that, that make people say no, and salespeople have to work really hard to get past them.

Frictionless experience. So if we are not, if you don't provide a digital experience, that's really seamless. That's really smooth. That is easy to navigate. That takes people where they want to go and rewards them for doing that. Then what you're gonna do is you're gonna simply create frustration. And you're gonna come.


You're gonna be compared with others who have a better process. So, -, think about the things you buy, -, that are easy to buy. So a simple example this would be Amazon. I mean, honestly, I can buy, I could buy from my phone, right? With a couple of clicks right now, while we're on this, -, in this workshop.

And it wouldn't take me about a second. That's frictionless. -, but we make it so, so hard for people. And so what happens is, -, when a buyer comes into the situation and they're already frustrated, -, they're questioning whether or not your company, your organization, your, your skill level is high enough, whether you're up to date or whether you're out of date.

And so we're creating questions that we don't need to be, -, creating the technology itself is a signal to the buyer. About our ability to deliver services, whether or not it's related to the services you provide at all, it still gives them, tells them a story about how well you work with people. So that's very important.

-, it's something that every buyer expects. So it's also significant, -, that you are giving value at every single step along the way, delivering something that helps people every single step along the way, -, be. And the reason for that is. You're really proving to folks that you are in this to help them.

You're establishing trust. You're giving them value in there and they're going to appreciate it. -, if you do not do that, then what you're making your salespeople do is they have to prove that they're in it to help as well. Since the buyer has not been convinced yet it's all on the salesperson to prove that they're there.

realign with the buyer

The next outcome here is if we don't have authenticity and passion being communicated in our, digital presence, then people are gonna come into the sales conversation. If they come at all, they're gonna come with doubts about credibility and sincerity.

Do you want to help me? -, because you haven't told the story and this is part of what we build into a, into a brand, -, buyer's journey, the story of why you're passionate about this. What's authentic about you? How did you get here? And this is not just an origin story, but it's really. -, why your motivations are here?

So we don't wanna deliver to a sales conversation, kind of this suspicion about, you know, whether or not you're really here to help you or not. Then finally, if we don't give people information about what's coming about and what the process is going to be, then every single step along the way, the salesperson is asked to negotiate the next.

And there's this push and pull of over control. People wanna have some control over their own processes. So if you tell, if you don't tell 'em the process, then they're going to push back every time you want to take the next step. And that's super important. If you wanna help people get to where they need to go.

So if you want to get a quick read on kind of what's happening with your buying experience right now, you can see, from this slide that there are significant sales impacts. If you don't have the right kind. Experience now we believe that this experience has to be built on an intentionally designed buyer journey.

A buyer's journey is what is used to create this digital experience. -, you hear a lot of talk about customer journeys today. Well, that's good for customers and it's significant for keeping customers. Upgrading them, but the buyer journey describes how we get people from having a challenge, problem, or goal into becoming a great customers.

And if we, if we design that, then we can address all of these issues. -, in the digital experience, if we don't design it, then really it's very haphazard. So if you wanna get a very quick from a technical level on what's happening with your website. Right now, you can use our website greater, which is at story-collaborative.com/greater.

And it will just give you four big areas that are describing the experience. Now it will not go into all of the elements that we've talked about today, but it will give you some details that you can use to help, -, figure out what's going on with the, at least the seamless part of this experience and encourage you to take the opportunity to do that.

realign with the buyer

Published by David Mills August 12, 2022
David Mills