The Buyer Enablement Platform
Hopefully you’ve gotten a chance to familiarize yourself with buyer enablement as a general concept. In this series of articles we’ve discussed how enablement platforms can empower buyers and sustain sellers.
We’ve shown how digital sales rooms are bridging the gap between a growing demand of information technology and a constantly evolving supply of services to manage it. We’ve broken down the different elements of a successful B2B enablement platform and explained the value of a coordinated go-to-market strategy.
In this post, we’ll explore how mapping a go to market strategy with the buyer’s journey is fundamental to unlocking the full potential of a Buyer Enablement Platform and your B2B sales.
“It means always acting in service of the buyer’s goals, and for the benefit of the long term relationship between buyer and seller.” - Jonathan Lister | LinkedIn
Identifying a Problem
In the B2B world, the buyer’s journey begins with the identification of an operational weakness or need, also known as a pain point. These vulnerabilities, however, are not always self-identified and often require a third party to pinpoint and resolve.
That’s where buyer enablement platforms shine - by placing the emphasis on a buyer first mindset. Rather than a sale being the driver of the relationship, place the buyer and their needs at the center of B2B transactions.
With access to a network of expert problem solvers and software developers, B2B service providers are frequently better equipped to identify weaknesses in a business process. These subject matter experts can quickly identify and address how to resolve obstacles and needs in the most efficient way possible.
The B2B buyer’s journey typically progresses to online research, reading reviews, and word of mouth networks as they seek a solution to address their need. This is why current, high quality, positioning and messaging should be presented on a company’s website and in their marketing efforts.
An effective Buyer Enablement Platform delivers a sales content management system (CMS) for the latest product messaging, marketing materials, technical overviews such as integrations, and verified customer reviews. The system is designed to keep product materials current, ensuring customers and prospects are seeing the latest up to date information and solution positioning.
“There is no standard playbook. There is no magic formula. The market and social media are constantly changing; your strategy needs to be unique to your business, customers, market, and circumstances.” - Harvard Business School
By using the sales CMS as a central repository - a single source of truth - marketing professionals can ensure they’re offering the latest positioning, messaging and marketing collateral on their website, in social media, and outbound efforts. Sales representatives should also be granted access to the sales CMS to ensure they are equipped with the most current product information.
Beginning a Relationship
The average B2B buyer has already reviewed multiple articles, videos, white papers, etc. before reaching out to a small, select group of sellers whose primary focus is developing solutions to address the customer need.
“41% of respondents will “consume between three and seven pieces of content before speaking with a salesperson.” - Demand Gen Report
With a Buyer Enablement Platform, sellers are then able to build a custom digital sales room from the materials within the sales CMS as a private online space to conveniently collaborate with customers. Access to the digital sales room can be controlled by the seller, with permissions granted to the customer as desired, visitors tracked with robust analytics, materials updated as needed as the B2B transaction progresses.
This seemingly simple tool - a persistent, evergreen, shared digital space - becomes a key component of communication and connection for a healthy, long-lasting business relationship.
Building the Relationship
One of the essential elements that makes buyer enablement platforms so appealing - not just to the buyers themselves, but also to sellers of these sought-after services - is relationship building. It’s important to understand that B2B purchases are typically not simple transactions in which a good or service is exchanged for a predetermined amount of currency. That’s how B2C commerce works, not B2B.
“More B2B procurement is moving to the web. Procurement professionals find that buyers value and seek the speed and smoothness of the ecommerce experience.” - Janet King | LinkedIn
A Buyer Enablement Platform is designed to empower buyers with knowledge to make informed decisions to best meet their business needs and the convenience of a single digital space as a source of truth for the solution. Simultaneously, the Platform enables sellers by rejecting the “one-size-fits-all” mentality, opting instead to create an individualized B2B experience for each customer prospect.
Post purchase agreement, the digital space can continue to be a resource with easy access to implementation details, training materials and schedules, user adoption data, renewal information and/or agreements, news of new product offerings, and more.
Implementation, Training & User Adoption
Once a product or solution is purchased, best practice for implementing a solution requires some level of continued collaboration between buyer and seller. What was a digital sales room customized for a potential customer becomes a digital resource room for implementation, customer onboarding, training, and user adoption data. The digital room can also become a central repository for scheduling, maintenance and information on updates, enacting new protocols etc.
“Existing customers are more likely to repeat their purchases when they trust your brand due to good customer service, ease of use or simply because the product solved their problem effectively.” - Forbes Business Council
Sellers should be heavily invested in seeing the buyer’s deployment, training and user adoption efforts succeed. The product should effectively address the buyer’s needs and be used in order to benefit from buyer satisfaction, positive reviews, and referrals. Every company's most valuable customer prospects are their existing customers.
Retention & Upselling
Naturally, customer retention is a priority for the seller. What this translates to, at least in B2B transactions, is always being open to incorporating the steady flow of buyer feedback and usage data into future product development roadmaps and implementation strategies.
However, as valuable as each buyer’s feedback is, it must not, in itself, become a pain point for the buyer. The individual customer’s digital space, or room, within the Buyer Enablement Platform provides a reliable, non-intrusive way to gather data for the seller - maintaining a central source for communication and information without feeling like a burden or obligation for the buyer.
The seller’s focus lies in providing upgrades, ensuring access to relevant training, suggesting new offerings, and expanding new services for the buyer based on their emerging needs. User feedback and awareness of issues that recur throughout the product life cycle are useful points for sellers to take into consideration when making improvements.
A Persistent, Evolving Space for Sellers & Buyers
There’s little doubt digital sales rooms are revolutionizing the way business to business transactions are taking place. Not only are they helping to make transactions more efficient, effective, and pleasant, they are breaking with tradition by facilitating a crucial alignment between emerging go-to-market strategies and today’s buyer journey.
In a global business world that continues to evolve at a great pace, where information technology and the many applications associated with it experience shorter and shorter life cycles, it’s clear that Buyer Enablement is more than just a means for conducting sales, but an ecosystem of its own designed to grow quickly, organically, and persist beyond the initial sales cycle.
Take a quick tour to see how the Enable Us seller and buyer enablement platform supports the B2B buyers journey.