Technology has changed the way customers buy.
Not only do prospects and customers have information at their fingertips that allow them to make informed decisions, but they also have the convenience of shopping online, or having the “shop” come to them. Welcome to the age of the educated buyer.
Many marketers try to engage the customers by bombarding them with offers and promotional messages in the hope that the customer would recognize their brand or choose to engage with their brand over that of their competitors’. This, however, may actually be counterproductive.
In the maze and clutter that the e-commerce marketplace has become today, customers prefer simplicity rather than an influx of information that, ultimately, only confuses and overwhelms them. Too much information makes decisions much more difficult.
This conversation is also applicable in the B2B space – perhaps, even more relevant. B2B buying decisions are being made based off of relationships and brand recognition. So, let’s make it easy for them and offer the solution that they need. Establish yourself as a thought-leader – a reliable, trustworthy resource for your prospects and customers. They should feel comfortable coming to you again and again with questions and, ultimately, purchase decisions. As much as we don’t like to hear it, the sales cycle is much more complex and a lengthier process than it’s ever been. Instead of fighting it, we need to be prepared to handle it. Sirius Decisions reports “The average sales cycle has increased 22% over the past 5 years due to more decision makers being involved in the buying process.”
This, coupled with the fact that half of all qualified leads are not ready to purchase immediately (Source: Gleanster) tells us that we’re in for a ride. But, don’t be intimidated. Make sure you’re making use of the tools and technologies we now have available at our fingertips, which make lead and customer nurturing a much more manageable process in a time when buyers are expecting personalized communications.