Too often companies take a company-centric approach to their sales efforts. Let’s be honest, customers hold the power and companies need to rethink their methods. Creating a great buying experience is more important than focusing on the phases of the sales cycle.
Delivering content during each phase of the cycle is a typical way Marketers and Salespeople engage with their prospects. What many fail to realize is how powerful video is when taking this approach, and more importantly how it leads prospects through a great buying experience. Before we go into what makes video the perfect way to connect with customers, let’s look at what the sales cycle is and how it differs from the buyer’s experience.
The Traditional Sales Cycle
There are three stages to the buyer’s journey:
- Awareness – Prospective buyers become aware that they have a pain point that needs to be solved.
- Consideration – The buyer is determining what options are available.
- Decision – Weighing the options against one another, the buyer narrows down their list and works toward a final decision.
The sales cycle can vary in length or comprise of different actions depending on the specific business and its unique customers. However, you can use video and other forms of content to address all three stages and guide potential customers toward a purchase. Instead of thinking about the cycle, consider thinking about the buying experience from the customer’s perspective. How easy are you making it for them to learn more about you or choose your product? You can deliver great content, but without a great buyer experience you’re missing out on potential customers.
To make video content that most effectively supports the buyer’s experience, marketers and salespeople first need to understand what this experience looks like.
The Buyer’s Experience
Research and Advisory Firm TOPO has data suggesting that providing a great buying experience has the most significant impact on whether or not a prospect will buy a product from you – above price or the product itself. In addition, TOPO’s research also found that companies that are able to deliver an excellent buying experience grow twice as quickly as companies that don’t.
The buyer experience consists of all the communication points, or touch-points, a buyer has with your brand, your salespeople, and your content. For some companies the overarching process can be whittled down to a few touch-points, for others with more complicated services (or heftier price tags) it can be up to 25 touch-points or more. In addition, as Bruce McKenzie of Salesforce notes, a buyer isn’t just one person. A “buyer” is more often a team. This means companies need to take into account the buyer experience of different team members and will want to aim messages targeting everyone from executives down to IT professionals. Finally, the buyer’s experience can include many different elements companies should take into consideration, including:
- Psychology and emotions – It’s an old saying, but it’s true. People buy based on their emotions and then use facts to justify it. According to TOPO, companies are often influenced by emotional triggers, like the sense of joining a community rather than carrying out a transaction.
- Information – Buyers need data about your product, like what makes it different than other similar solutions, what kind of service you offer, or anything else that makes your business and products stand out.
- Interactions – The information prospects collect on your products and services come from many different sources – online review websites, phone calls, emails from your sales/marketing team, and of course content they’ve downloaded or viewed. It’s important to take into consideration all the information a buyer is coming across. Is it consistent and in-line with your objectives? Does it lead the buyer into a relationship where they trust and value your company?
Use Video to Ensure a Great Buying Experience
Improving the buying experience means seamlessly addressing all of the buyer’s concerns, questions, and needs from every angle possible. Having an arsenal of content for each stage of the buying journey and for each team member that makes up the “buyer” is key. One of the channels companies need to consider is video. Here are four ways video improves the buying experience:
- Make videos for each stage: Video has many benefits that span the entire sales cycle. They are passive pieces of content that are easy to digest, modern, and more importantly they allow you to control the message. By having consistent and succinct messaging, you limit any misinterpretations of your brand and products.
- Personalize your videos: People expect more now. Buyers want to receive customized content that is relevant to them. A personalized message increases the impact of your message and makes it more likely that your prospect will engage with it. Different members of the “buyer” team have different needs, address those needs. Using a tool like Switch Merge, mail merge for video, marketers and salespeople can personalize videos for specific recipients.
- Convey emotion: One way to appeal to potential customers is by highlighting their pain points through a narrative. It’s a classic formula used in explainer videos because it works. Think about what your problem solves, and how you can frame it in terms of a story. By connecting with your prospects emotionally, you let them know that you understand them and want to help; giving them a better buying experience.
- Communicate data: One of video’s greatest benefits is how effectively it conveys information to viewers. Visual metaphors allow you to relate new ideas to familiar ones, which can help you bring home the message. Also, people retain more information when their auditory and visual senses are engaged, making video a great way to demonstrate your value.
Hand over your sales process to your customer and embrace the buyer experience. For more information check out the video we made for TOPO: