Why is the interaction with potential customers important
Successful interactions between seller and buyer are the be-all and end-all in sales. Especially in the B2B area, contacts between these two parties play an essential role in the course of the customer journey.
According to a study by SiriusDecision, sales presentations and the various interactions in the course of the purchase process have by no means lost their importance, even if digital platforms have changed processes within customer service (source: via marketingcharts.com).
Sales interactions in the buyer’s journey
In principle, interactions during the buyer's journey are divided into three phases, in which the salesperson can navigate and support the buyer's decisions by forwarding information.
In the Education phase In the educational phase, the customer first realizes that there is reason to change, whereby the study emphasizes that most interactions between buyers and sellers take place at this stage.
Within the following Solution phase (Solution phase) a decision is then made as to which approach is most suitable to initiate such a change.
These steps are followed by the Selection phase (Selection phase) with the question: which provider is best?
Based on surveys with more than 1000 B2B entrepreneurs, the study found that:
of all buyers have received crucial input from the provider they ultimately decided on.
Whether these decisions are made within these phases individually, in a team or even in the so-called “Buying Center” (more on this here), the contact with the sales staff contributes significantly to the purchase decision, according to the study.
What is exciting here is that individual decision-makers generally have less contact with the salesperson than teams or buying centers during the phases. These two groups interact with the provider especially in the educational phase, whereby it is noticeable that the solution and selection phase show lower percentages of interaction than the educational phase.
Type of interactions
It is important to mention with this topic that each of the sections in the buyer’s journey is in turn accompanied by a certain type of interactions. One then speaks of:
This form of interaction involves the transmission of information via online channels, with the intention that the customer accesses this independently and can get an idea of the offers.
This type is similar to that of facilitated interactions, with the difference that, apart from accessing content independently, the customer can also interact with it in a virtual or simulated environment. The study named free test versions as particularly influential, followed by online demos.
This is called interactions in which information is forwarded directly to the customer by an employee of the provider or a third external party. Examples of this would include industry conferences or discussions with a reference customer or their references and use cases.
These go one step further, as this involves direct contact between a sales representative of the provider and the customer. The salesperson has complete control over the dissemination of information and can adjust it according to the needs of the customer. Most effective: a conversation between the sales representative and the customer.
Each of the interactions can take place in the course of a buyer’s journey and is carried out as part of the Buyer interaction models classified into human and non-human interactions. This distinction is based on whether there is active contact between seller and buyer or whether the latter is looking for information independently and using this as the basis for his decision.
The supported and simulated interactions are therefore non-human interactions, as there is little contact with the seller. However, this plays a decisive role in the influenced and staged interactions. In the course of this, an active exchange takes place between the sales employee and the customer, with the dialogue being the top priority.
Interactions in digital sales
These subdivisions play a crucial role, especially in the context of digitization. Human contact remains of great importance, but is embedded in the new digital environment. Salespeople are still necessary for customer care, be it in direct contact or by providing the right information or designing the buyer’s journey.
With a Hubspot study showing that 30% of salespeople believe that making sales deals is becoming increasingly difficult, it is even more important:
- seek direct contact with potential customers,
- to actively accompany them through their buyer’s journey,
- adapt the digital environment
- and to use it as a platform for interactions.
Interestingly, the study by SiriusDecision also finds that the number of human contacts increases with the price. In more than half of the cases, salespeople are also involved in the buyer’s journey from the start. It is particularly noticeable that 85% of the respondents confirm that the provider they decided on in the end accompanied them through all steps of the buyer’s journey in the form of positively perceived interactions.
Lead Management supports both your marketing and your sales in shaping and accompanying the decision-making phases of leads and customers in order to ensure that prospects become customers. Find out more in our whitepaper.
Paria Jamali is currently a student trainee at ec4u, where she works in the corporate communications department.
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