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Win More Deals by Selling an Experience Instead of a Product

January 15, 2020

Sales Strategy

Win More Deals by Selling an Experience Instead of a Product

No longer is your product the pivotal element of the relationship with your client. Buyers now value the experience accompanying their purchase, or the “full package” suppliers provide their customers from start to finish.

The B2B digital marketplace is complex and offers a wide selection of innovative products and services for all sorts of business needs. Especially within the B2B software industry where product and service complexities can leave sales cycles rather lengthy, the combination of optimized customer-facing digital assets together with the human touch are indispensable elements of a successful sales process. Yet, the ease with which buyers are able to interact with B2B companies along these channels hasn’t always been top priority for suppliers.

Shifts in strategy due to global pandemic together with recent digital innovations have helped buyers and suppliers alike to recognize the importance of a streamlined buyer experience from start to finish. On a larger scale, customers have shifted their focus from the sole value of the products they purchase towards the buyer experience as a whole. In other words, the added value received from purchasing a particular product from a select company is worth more to buyers. 

Similar to the seemingly endless array of personalized recommendations and user support options provided by some of the B2C industry’s top tech companies, B2B firms are expanding their repertoire of services aimed at ensuring a personalized experience for clients at every stage of the buying process. 

In this article, we’ll show you how your sales team can win more deals by selling an experience instead of a product. We’ll also examine how current B2B trends are changing how customers interact with brands and how this impacts traditional sales processes. The following questions will be answered throughout: Which factors contribute to a positive customer experience? How can companies small and large benefit from integrating pivotal changes to their sales approach? How do you identify areas where there’s room for improvement? All this and more below.

How to Sell an Experience and not a Product

Solution providers no longer sell one or two primary products or services. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Headway)

No longer is your product the pivotal element of the relationship with your client. Buyers now value the experience accompanying their purchase, or the “full package” suppliers provide their customers from start to finish. For B2B SaaS buyers, a complete and consistent customer experience spans multiple channels from point of first contact all the way to deployment.

Nowadays, B2B companies are utilizing ever more resources to conduct detailed research prior to reaching out to sales reps. According to a Demand Gen report, the mix of resources buyers now use to consider vendor products and solutions increasingly includes peers and colleagues, prior experience with the vendor, industry experts, analysts and influencers, as well as review websites. This shows that prospects come readily equipped with their own notions of the customer experience they can expect. 

However, every buyer has unique wants and needs. How companies interact and engage clients at key stages of the sales process can thus be decisive in determining the outcome of the deal.

Multichannel Sales Strategies: Go Digital

Digitial transformations in how sales are made require companies to keep pace. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Andrew Neel)

Work-from-home has become the new norm and is likely here to stay. According to a recent McKinsey survey, B2B companies see digital transactions as two to three times more important looking ahead. Yet, digital paths are often left underutilized by B2B companies.

For B2B buyers, large-scale purchasing decisions involving complex products and services with lengthy buying processes are often commonplace. The go-to means of first contact for many B2B buyers and sellers alike has been a reputable sales team. However, while companies rely on ever more resources to research how supplier’s solutions can create value in their company, sellers must ensure forward-facing digital assets provide an effective means of first contact. Current trends now see growing importance of both a strong sales team and digital investments as a part of an effective multichannel sales strategy.

B2B companies must include easily accessible information, up-to-date content and coherent messaging as part of their initial online customer experience in order to ensure deeper client engagement. For B2B marketing teams, this raises the bar for invaluable facets of the prospect’s point of first contact experience. For sales, this requires alignment with the marketing team and acute attention to all marketing measures in place. Success in a post-COVID world will require companies to provide a customer experience complete with sound digital solutions to an array of buyer needs.

Personalized Customer Relationships are Key

Show your customer that they can rely on you and your team. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Christin Hume)

The first step towards selling an experience is to adopt a customer-centric approach to your sales process. How does this method help sell an experience vs. a particular product? Simply put, instead of selling a particular product, your team should be devoted to providing your client with a viable solution based on your customer’s specific wants and needs. For example, a B2B SaaS company may work together with a client to personalize a bundle core services with additional offerings tailored to the client’s industry or particular field.

In order to achieve this, your sales team needs to establish a close relationship with customers and get to know their side of the story inside and out. Sales reps must lead with curiosity and empathy in all interactions in order to fully understand the challenges the customer may be facing. Solution providers must ensure close collaboration and the seamless flow of information among teams within their organization in order to foster a clear understanding of customer needs. 

Sales team members must gain a thorough understanding of who the client is, what their business is about and what their pain points are. How do you know when your team is on the right track? Responsive and devoted reps with a vested interest in the customer’s success will begin to take on the role of a trusted advisor and less that of a salesperson.

The type of sales approach helps companies foster sustainable long-term relationships with their clients. It also helps sales reps prioritize the experience they offer rather than the quotas they have to reach.

Craft a Sales Team of Trusted Advisors

Invest in an engaged group of expert sales reps who will maintain a customer centric sales approach throughout every stage. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Priscilla Du Preez)

Another way to ensure the best customer experience for your B2B clients is to sculpt a sales team of knowledgeable, motivated individuals into a group of experts in your industry. According to the Demand Gen B2B survey also cited earlier in the text, companies are no longer remaining anonymous in the early stages of the research process. This signals that sales reps are playing an even greater role earlier on in the sales cycle. To capitalize on every opportunity a lead reaches out, sales teams must remain prepared and informed at every stage of the buyer’s journey.

An invested sales team will identify customer pain points in all their diversity and variation. Instead of a feature-driven product pitch, sellers will guide their customers with solution-based guidance towards a product experience which suits them best. This team of sales consultants will prioritize providing a sustainable solution which values long-term cooperation over short-term gain - no matter whether for the buyer or seller. And making an effort counts in the long run.


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