The 21st century buyer is smarter – and more informed — than ever. However, not too long ago, buyers had limited information, resources and fewer companies were investing in sharing actual information to inform their customers. The internet and its increasing accessibility through smartphones and other digital devices has completely transformed the way that buyers learn, research, and plan prior to making purchases. Whether it’s checking Yelp before visiting a new restaurant, the reviews section prior to buying new shoes, or checking an online forum to read customer feedback before a large enterprise software purchase, buyers are increasingly aware of products, services, and price before they make a purchase.
While this is great news for consumers, this information economy and transparency isn’t available to enterprises. While enterprise buyers may have a healthy appetite for specific and detailed price and product information, there is very little pricing information out there on products, specifically software solutions. Contrary to popular belief, this lack of information doesn’t really serve the sellers. It can actually severely hurt software sellers, ultimately causing a decrease in revenue and higher cost of sale.
So, how can software companies win over their consumers and transform the buying process?
By understanding their customers and meeting them where they begin in the buying process, companies can greatly improve their sales efforts. Generally that starts with a buyer reading reviews or pricing data online, seeing a new blog post, talking to a colleague or friend and deciding they are interested in a new type of solution. According to CEB, almost 60% of the decision making process is completed before buyers engage a sales team. If your company isn’t sharing the information and data about your solutions, then who is? The more information made available online about a company’s products and solutions greatly increases their chances of engaging sales teams and following through with a purchase due to correct price expectations being set. At the very least, it helps increase brand equity by painting the company [selling the software] in a more positive light because of the integrity and honesty displayed during the buyer’s experience.
How do smarter buyers affect sellers?
The bottom line is this- in the age of information at your fingertips, not being transparent about your product and pricing hurts you as a seller because ultimately, even if it’s not you who volunteers the information someone else will. Also, how many sales cycles are wasted because pricing was not discussed until late in the process. Isn’t it better if it comes from a single source of truth- you? When companies share information in online spaces such as review sites, through increased digital marketing efforts, better customer service, and being more upfront about their product pricing, informed buyers can become informed customers – proving that the sellers can and should be getting smarter about their tactics as well. In order to stay competitive, sellers need to stay one step ahead of buyers.