Shorten the buyer journey

The sooner a prospect becomes a customer, the better. And the longer that customer stays with your company, the better. What can you do to shorten the buyer journey, increase customer satisfaction, and ultimately boost revenue?

The buyer journey typically consists of the Awareness, Consideration, and Decision stages. Marketing, sales, and customer service each have a role in these three stages, and they share the same goal: increase conversion and retention.

To boost sales and satisfaction for the long term, here are our top 4 tips for closing the deal and maintaining that customer, better and faster than your competitors:

  • Email isn’t always enough

Even if we know this fact to be true, it’s hard to break out of our reliance on email for instant communication.

The benefit of non-email communication, however, is that when you go out of your way to use a phone call or schedule an in-person meeting, your prospect will notice you and your effort. Offering to come by their office or buy them a coffee can go a long way.

And keep this good advice in mind when crafting your communication strategy: “when you are communicating via e-mail, your words are not supported by gestures, voice inflections, or other cues, so it may be easier for someone to misread your tone.” It’s much quicker to get on the same page via phone or personal meeting.

Scheduling regular conference calls, video chats, screen sharing demos and trainings, and in-person meetings show your prospects that you’re willing to put in the time to get to know them and help solve their problems.

  • Education is your friend

If you’re doing content marketing, you know that the more information a prospect has, the more likely they will be willing to try your product.

Create and share success stories, case studies, video tutorials, written materials and more if it can help you make your case. Send relevant materials and point out which sections will be useful to them specifically. That way, they have the answers in their inbox, ready to be perused at their leisure.

Keep them posted on new content too – not in a pushy manner, but in a helpful, education-focused way. Tell them you think they might be interested in this piece and ask for any feedback too, so it becomes a two-way conversation.

  • Respect your prospect

A key element in a positive sales relationship is respect. To foster a mutually-beneficial relationship remember to:

  • Follow their lead
  • Listen to what they say
  • Believe them

Every conversation should feel real, authentic, and two-sided. When they say they need a month to decide – listen and believe them. Send genuine follow ups. Remind them of their timeline. Don’t overdo it at the risk of losing the sale completely. Practice empathy – put yourself in their shoes and do what you can assuage their concerns in a reasonable way.

“A customer’s behaviors and comments can reveal a great deal about his or her needs. However, it takes strong customer empathy and engagement in order to capture and act on that intelligence.” -Ambalika Sudan, Salesforce IQ

  • Give them what they need when they need it

It’s all about timing. Every communication should be thoughtful and timed correctly based on where the prospect is in the buyer journey.

It’s simple when you think about it, but not every person needs the same message at the same time. Maybe one person needs a comprehensive product guide when they’re two weeks into their buying decision but another could really use a 20% discount to close the deal. Again, listen to their needs and build a custom program around them. Anticipate their journey based on what past customers have done or told you as well.

Don’t forget analytics and measurement to perfect this cycle. As Jennifer Polk explains on LinkedIn, “Customer journey analytics can reveal patterns in audience behavior that show which channels and tactics are most likely to drive the desired outcome. Marketers can combine this insight with testing to determine which sequence is most effective for a given customer segment, buyer persona or scenario.”

Are you ready to fine-tune your buyer journey? When you provide extra care, attention, and a personal touch, your customers will respond, refer, and return to you again. Educate and support your prospects in thoughtful ways and you’ll be building more business in no time!