How to Convince Leadership to Focus on Buyer Experience
Most marketers understand the value of creating a great B2B buying experience.
They know prospects need upfront product information, frictionless demo requests,and transparent pricing to make an informed investment.
But leadership is often standing in the way.
Why? Because they’re afraid of showing their cards and giving away too much information.
The inevitable tension that ensues makes it tough for marketers to do their jobs effectively. The good news is that you can make your leadership come around.
Below, we’ll explain why focusing on the buyer experience is a must for any B2B SaaS company and share a tried and tested method for getting your leadership onboard.
Why focus on buyer experience?
In real life, B2B buyers are B2C buyers. And 90% of B2B buyers expect the same quick, easy, informative B2C sales experience from their B2B vendors.
But most B2B SaaS companies aren’t keeping up with that demand. 60% of B2B buyers agree that vendors aren’t involved in the research phase. Even when a buyer reaches out to a vendor on their own, 55% of companies take 5 or more days to respond.
Check out my full presentation I gave on this topic here
The only way for B2B companies to catch up to their B2C counterparts is to optimize for this new buying experience. We know first-hand that it works.
At Navattic, we focused on improving three main areas of the buyer experience throughout the past year. Specifically we focused on:
- Simple calendar scheduling
- Upfront product access
- Transparent website pricing
And by doubling down on the buyer experience we were able to drastically cut down our sales cycle.
5 Steps to convince leadership
Getting leadership buy-in is no easy feat.
That’s why we’ve done the work for you. These five steps are the exact playbook we used at Navattic to align the entire team around the goal of a frictionless buyer experience.
Step #1 - Gather external data
Your leadership wants to know that you’ve done your research. Some sources could include:
- Looking at industry standards or reports for buying habits (for example G2’s 2022 Software Buyer Behavior Report)
- Paying attention to what other marketing leaders are doing successfully
- Finding case studies that emphasize the need for a seamless buying experience
For example, at Navattic, to first figure out where we should focus our efforts, I interviewed top marketing experts and asked them what is one way companies can majorly improve the buying experience. Here were some of their responses:
Kyle Lacy, CMO at Jellyfish, explained: “The fewer human beings in the process, the better. Do not hand me off to three different people to help make a buying decision.”
Instead of shifting lead ownership, we could send them straight to the source, giving them the option of when they talk to sales.
Brendan Hufford, Founder of Growth Sprints stated: “If you’re going to push for a demo booking, let them book the demo immediately. Just embed a calendar.”
Erin Balsa, Founder of Haus of Bold, agreed, sharing that adding pricing to a website request “gives people a general sense of whether or not to proceed. They don’t waste time sitting on a discovery call and getting grilled only to discover your product is out of budget.”
We also looked for external case studies. For example, Gong, a leader in the SaaS space, improved their form conversion by 70% by streamlining their demo requests with Chili Piper.
Step #2 - Gather internal data
Internal data is just as valuable as external data. And prospects and customers will tell you what they want.
By listening to sales calls and talking to customers, you’ll start to pick up on patterns that help justify your focus on the buyer experience.
For example, in episode 2 of Navattic’s “Revenue on the Rocks” podcast, we discussed how and why we decided to launch public-facing pricing.
There were external proof points — many PLG B2B SaaS companies display their pricing upfront — but we also noticed that on our request a demo form, 15% of leads were requesting pricing.
“On our book a demo form, we have a field that says, ‘Please share anything that would help us prepare for our meeting.’ And when we looked at the numbers, 15% of the time, prospects said they wanted something related to pricing.”
At the same time, marketers were constantly contacting me on LinkedIn asking about our pricing. They were interested in using Navattic but weren’t sure it was in their budget.
These two data points showed it wasn’t just my opinion that our buyers wanted public-facing pricing and helped move the needle forward on our decision.
Step #3 - Align with your sales or product team
Product or sales (or both) will have a big say in how you focus on the buyer experience. And because they’re one of the biggest stakeholders, you need their support.
As Ben and I talked about on the public-facing podcast episode, it took us aligning on public pricing to convince leadership.
Public-facing pricing affected his job the most, so it was only right that he was also bought in.
To convince Ben, I had to demonstrate that public-facing pricing would lead to better sales cycles and it's what the prospect actually wants — it’s not just my opinion.
I found multiple recordings of prospects asking for pricing. I showed him messages I got on LinkedIn from people asking me for pricing.
Perhaps most importantly, I found a few deals where we showed pricing earlier in the sales cycle and closed them easier and faster. This indicated that public-facing pricing could create higher-quality leads with fewer objections during the sales process.
Ben said, “The breaking point for me was imagining you worked at a company and you had prospects telling you all day long that they needed feature ABC and you refused to build it.
Natalie was hearing about public-facing pricing constantly. We heard it on every call. Our prospects were craving and dying for it, so eventually it was a decision we made.”
Step #4 - Experiment
The first thing you do to improve the buyer experience may not be an instant success. And that’s ok — you just have to experiment until you find your sweet spot.
If you’re sales-led: Use a Tiger Team approach. Select a group of sales reps that you know are open to experimentation. Then, ask them to start feeding different variations of your tests to prospects and customers.
For instance, at Navattic, we didn’t go all in and put pricing up on our website immediately. Instead, we focused on making incremental changes and seeing how prospects responded. We first asked our reps to email potential customers our pricing before they chatted with them and be more upfront with pricing in the sales cycle.
If you’re product-led: Try A/B testing. I’d recommend measuring down-funnel effects rather than just conversion rates. While you may get fewer free trailers, the ones you do capture will likely be more activated and eventually convert to paid accounts.
Before you start testing, you’ll need to decide your success metric.That way you can all agree if the test was successful or not.
If you’re looking for some guidance on different experiments, here are a few different buyer experiences you can test at varying degrees:
- Level 1: Automate lead request routing so you don t have to wait for manual approval
- Level 2: Use Chili Piper or Calendly so leads can schedule time directly on the website
- Level 3: Use Chili Piper and Clearbit together to automatically route and qualify your leads
- Level 1: Send an interactive demo or a video of your product pre-discovery call
- Level 2: Share interactive demos or videos to target accounts or in outbound campaigns
- Level 3: Add an interactive demo to your website so any visitor can see your product (One in every three website visitors will engage with an interactive demo)
- Level 1: Send a pricing one pager ahead of a demo or discovery call
- Level 2: Give website visitors a pricing range or outline of your pricing plan
- Level 3: Put full pricing on your website
Step #5 - Share results and iterate
As you’re testing, sharing results with your team is critical.
Give them frequent updates on how it’s going and what you’ve noticed as you’ve started to experiment.
As we were testing out public-facing pricing, I created a Notion doc with all of the metrics we were tracking and shared results with the team on a weekly basis.
After each quarter, take a moment to zoom out — that’s where you’ll see the biggest change. In our public-facing pricing experiments, quarter-end was when I noticed we’d reduced our sales cycle dramatically.
Persuading leadership is tough, but quantitative and qualitative data points and solid experimentation can win you the support you need to get and stay ahead of the B2B buyer experience curve.
If you have any questions as you start to build your case, feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn.
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