Even if you think you are not an internet guru, I am sure you will agree that it has changed the way in which society receives, retains and reacts to information across the globe.
Before the internet sales people ruled the purchasing game from open to close, they were the gatekeepers of information. They were like the encyclopaedia of solutions and products, and the only way for clients to find answers to their business needs was to engage with the sales person. Technology and the internet has irrevocably shifted the power from the seller to the buyer. The internet has changed sales forever.
Having access to the internet makes everything more convenient for the buyer. They have the ability to research and reflect at their own leisure. With internet being accessible almost everywhere on a plethora of devices clients are finding numerous ways to interact with brands and research their products and services. Today almost 75% of consumers search for information on products and services on the internet before looking to engage with a supplier and make a purchase.
In today’s world the buyer already knows what they want, they already have a deep understanding of the solutions that will help them accomplish their goal or address their issue. The result is that prospects don’t answer the phone any or return calls any more, why would they have access to the information they need online. This means that sales people are being invited into the buying process much later in the cycle, yes you read that right ‘invited’. The shift means that they buyer now controls when they will engage with us in their purchasing process.
However don’t panic, the advantage to this is that customers are more informed, which means they find it easier to engage with sales people in relation to the solution they require. In addition it also often means the sales cycle is much shorter as the majority of the research phase is conducted by the buyer prior to engagement with the sales person.
The evolution of the internet and the research buyer’s conduct prior to engagement however, do mean that businesses need to have a significant online presence. Look at it this way if you can’t be found online (including social) then you will likely be in a position where you are never invited to engage. In addition having a positive presence online is key. How many of us have looked at a hotel on TripAdvisor that has had bad reviews and changed our mind about booking. The process is exactly the same for buyers, if you have any bad press online, it is likely that that you will not be considered viable by the buyer.
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