social_mediaDigital continues to be a pervasive influence in B2B buyer engagement. Recent research by SiriusDecisions demonstrates the importance of B2B organizations having a solid understanding not only of how their prospects interact digitally with their organization, but how that behavior influences sales conversations.

The research makes the point that (1) digital can be a powerful resource for B2B buyers and (2) salespeople still play an integral role in moving opportunities forward.

Sales organizations that account for how their buyers engage digitally and how that behavior influences actual sales conversations will be able to effectively influence buying decisions in their favor.

Here are five ways your sales organization can improve its ability to connect with the digital buyer:

1. Understand Buyer Expectations

The connected buyer expects to be able to go online, research your solution and find the necessary information about the problems he/she is trying to solve. If they aren’t able to find the benefits of the solution you provide, they’ll turn to your competitors and will be unlikely to invest more time into learning about what you have to offer.

Think of your digital content as the hook that gets a buyer interested, and the value-based sales conversation as the line that draws them in.

2. Build Alignment With Marketing

Since the connected buyer garners information online during his/her buying process, it’s vital that sales and marketing be in alignment around the goals of your customer-facing content. That content provides the on-ramp to the value-based sales conversation. The sales and marketing organizations need to ensure that the content attracts the right type of buyer and is in line with what is articulated in the actual sales conversation. The end result should be a smooth and consistent handoff to the sales department.

3. Manage The Message

In the same way that there should be consistency between the goals of sales and marketing, there should also be consistency in sales messaging at every customer touch point. Organizations must develop a way to continuously create and capture value for their customer.

Ensure that your messaging, whether in the form of sales or marketing collateral, actual sales conversations, or throughout the customer engagement lifecycle expresses your company’s value drivers, differentiators, and compelling proof points.

4. Leverage Social

Social selling is not a fad. Connected buyers look to an organization’s presence on social media to establish relevance in the digital age. Eighty-four percent of B2B Buyers at the CEO or VP level use social media to make purchasing decisions. If your sales organization wants to be part of that decision process, you need to enable your team to leverage social in their sales process.

Social selling is important to your overall sales process because it meets the buyer where he/she is. It reaches the connected buyer in the moment they’re looking for solutions.The ability to answer questions and demonstrate your organization’s unique value in real time proves to the connected buyer that you’re engaged and connected, which builds credibility and ultimately benefits the initial sales call.

5. Differentiate Yourself In The Marketplace

In today’s marketplace, unique differentiation is fleeting. It’s rare to come across a company whose product or service is so distinctive that there are no direct competitors. Because of this, your ability to differentiate your value proposition early in the sales process is paramount.

By highlighting your differentiators early in your messaging process and establishing yourself as an expert in your field, you communicate trust to prospective buyers that you have a solution for their business problems – which is ultimately the value they’re looking to gain.

Use your online presence to articulate your unique and comparative differentiators so that by the time a prospect is on the phone with you, they already see you as a beneficial resource for their needs.

Remember, in today’s buying landscape every buyer is a connected buyer. If you don’t account for digital behavior in your own sales interactions you’re missing an important opportunity to add value in the sales process.