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October 5, 2021

What Data & Analytics Have to Say About Buyer-First Selling

GUEST: Carla Intal, Insights Analyst at LinkedIn

 
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Your organization says it puts its buyers first — like nearly every other company in existence — and you’ve been tasked with the unenviable job of clearly articulating how. Where do you start? 

You know that buyer-first selling may be one of the most human goals for your business, but it’s only achieved by understanding the humans involved — which means diving into the data.

Today’s guest, Carla Intal — Insights Analyst at LinkedIn — joins us on the show to discuss how she’s used data to create a list of 5 buyer-first principles that actually work.

“In the Age of Information, whoever has the data has the most to say."

Carla Intal, Insights Analyst at LinkedIn 

Most Effective Selling Motions

Working remotely has made the purchasing process easier. In LinkedIn's State of Sales report, more than 70% of respondents said they want to continue buying remotely in the future.

Are sellers prepared to make that shift?

According to the data, they're not.

"In our analysis," Carla said, "we found a scramble amongst sellers. They're taking courses on inside selling or social sales on our LinkedIn learning platform."

Sellers are trying to adapt to this new world of virtual sales: Technology can help them do it.

Everybody in the professional world is now online and engaging with each other. Activity on Linkedin is up 30% year on year, and every minute, there are about 130 new signups on LinkedIn.

How do we empower sales professionals to make most of their time online?

Start with your online purchasing process. It's fast and efficient. But it's also overwhelming because these sellers were probably ill-prepared to sell online. The challenge is: how do we cut through the noise?

The 5 Buyer-First Principles Derived from Research

You want every buyer and seller engagement to be valuable and meaningful, so put your buyers first. When you have a buyer-first ethos, everyone wins. 

What does being a buyer-first company mean?

  • Learn about your buyer. You can do a search or review a profile on LinkedIn.
  • Share your insights readily. Publish or share content online.
  • Solve their problem; don't sell. This one speaks for itself.
  • Deliver value. Don't just deliver a product or service; give your buyer something worthwhile.
  • Earn their trust. Find a way to discover if you're earning trust by using an objective metric.

Putting your customer's needs first — over your sales goals — can not only create a positive buying experience, but it can also optimize your productivity as a seller.

Everything needs to be focused on the buyer. If it's not, they will feel the friction and find somebody else who will focus on them and their specific needs. 

How to Leverage Data

Data and selling go hand in hand. You can learn so much about a customer just by looking at their data. 

Still, remember that data comes in many forms. You don't have to stick with what's on the spreadsheet or in the CRM. Right now, it's about behavior. 

At heart, sales is a social profession, and social interaction is key. Use social data to understand your customer, then ask your questions:

  • What types of content do they click on?
  • What topics do they care about?
  • When are they active online?
  • Are they looking to change jobs soon? 

When you aggregate all that information, it becomes a powerful tool to help you understand your buyer and engage them better. Hopefully, it will lead to better outcomes as a sales team.

Ultimately, there's no data that's the most critical or the most important. Every data set has its imperfections, but being able to weave different information together and find patterns in it is what's important. Once you understand the pattern, then you have a roadmap for yourself on how to craft messages that will garner a positive response. 

The key is not in the data itself but in the expertise of the person who understands what the data means. You don't need to be a data scientist to learn this. 

Now that you know how to employ buyer-first principles, are you ready to take a deeper dive into the role data should play in your organization, or learn all about sales enablement 3.0? Check out the full list of episodes: The B2B Revenue Executive Experience.