Is Helping Buyers To Buy Really The Right Mindset?

Helping Buyers To Buy
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Tony Zambito

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Marketing And Sales Teams Should First Align With An Important Buyer Mindset Before Jumping In Helping Buyers To Buy

The phrase – “helping buyers to buy” – has been a new mantra for the past three to five years.  The use of this phrase has picked up steam during the pandemic.  In various webinars, online conferences, and Zoom events we have seen this phrase filtered in throughout presentations and interviews.  Respected analyst firms such as Forrester and Gartner have used the term frequently.  Sometimes it is used to describe the meaning of buyer enablement.  Sales development and training organizations use this phrase as well.

The phrase certainly makes sense.  Especially as an idea to examine in buyer persona development.  As we enter a new era for B2B, beset with new realities, I have to wonder whether this is the right mindset for what lies ahead.

Something caught my attention recently in a qualitative buyer interview that may help illuminate why I am wondering about this.  With permission from the organization whom I am helping with buyer research and buyer personas, let me share a statement from a Senior Director level individual:

“I am not really ready to buy anything right now.  We’re still trying to figure things out, you know, with the pandemic.”

There was more after that statement but this basic expression indicates a lot is going on.  Note, it is not about seeking a solution to buy.  It is about trying to figure things out.  Something many buyers are trying to do at this moment.   

The phrase “helping buyers to buy” has an end in mind of a sale.  A purchase.  A mindset with results favorable to marketing and sales.  A recent article offered insight into how ABM may struggle when the mindset is oriented towards what is good for marketing versus what is good for the buyer.  This is of a similar vein. 

If content and sales conversations are about helping to buy, then a mindset oriented towards selling only can still exist.  And it can be clear to buyers that you and your teams are selling.  That you want to help them to buy your products, solutions, and services. 

At this point, you may ask “well isn’t our end game to make more sales?”  Yes, of course.  However, there may be a more helpful as well as frictionless way you can align with buyers.

 A more helpful mindset that meets buyers in a new reality is:

Helping buyers to accomplish future goals and meet future challenges.

Today and in an evolving post-pandemic world, buyers may not have a mindset about “buying” but about “figuring things out.”  This is an important and distinctive mindset for marketing and sales teams to adapt to. 

Several considerations marketing and sales leaders can take in a new era for B2B:

1 – Develop A Goal-Directed Mindset

Helping buyers to accomplish future goals can lead to more meaningful content and sales conversations.  Buyer goals are changing due to internal and external factors.  And they are trying to figure out how to accomplish them.  The origins of buyer personas are rooted in the understanding of goal-directed behaviors and mindsets.  This root of buyer insights research is more important than ever.

2 – Expand The Scope Of Content And Conversations

Buyers will find it beneficial to broaden the scope of possibilities as they attempt to figure things out in a new reality.  Helping buyers to buy may mean marketing and sales teams are keeping to a very narrow scope when initiating interaction with buyers.  Instead, expand the scope of possibilities.

3 – Do Not Always Presume Buyers Are In A Continuous Buying Mode

Marketing and sales teams can develop an unconscious presumption that buyers are constantly seeking to buy.  Going into a buyer interaction with this presumption can turn buyers away.  If we look at that statement above, she likely chose to pursue a different avenue to help her figure things out.  She was not in a “buying mindset” yet. 

4 – There Are Two Mindsets – Get The Right One First

Marketing and sales teams will have to align with two important buyer mindsets.  The first is about helping buyers with future goals and challenges.  Helping buyers to figure things out so to speak.  To the point where they shift their mindset to that of buying.  Where you can help buyers to buy. 

The pitfalls marketing and sales teams need to avoid are presuming and jumping right into helping buyers to buy.  Without first aligning with buyers when they are trying to figure things out. 

So, is helping buyers to buy the right mindset?  Yes and no.  I believe there is an essential mindset marketing and sales teams need to develop first or as a precursor beforehand.  We are entering a new era for B2B and a new reality for buyers as we rise out of the pandemic.  Buyers will be trying to figure a lot out. 

Organizations that develop a strong ability to help buyers to address future goals and challenges will lead in what amounts to a new era for B2B and a new reality for buyers.