Whether selling a product to an individual or to a large corporation, B2C or B2B, the digital transformation has created an entirely new set of expectations and demands. This is true regardless of the simplicity or complexity of one’s sales process because, ultimately, the experience itself has become equally critical as the quality of what’s being sold. Buyers just don’t have the patience to accept a less than stellar journey from discovery to fulfillment. Thus, the burden is on the seller to master the art of mass personalization, meaning creating information specifically targeted to each individual customer history. The individual’s experience within the buying cycle has to be smooth while the organization manages costs and increases revenue, coupled with a clear understanding of what both your buyers and sales representatives need and expect from the digital sales cycle.
What buyers want
Buyers want an easy way to discover, select, customize, order, and receive their goods. They want and expect an intuitive, efficient user experience which provides relevant information that is easy to find. This includes:
- Comparison tools that empower the buyer to run different product option and purchase scenarios
- Access to critical data from past orders, current availability of items of interest, exact pricing based on customized feature selection, and accurate delivery windows
- Customized and personalized recommendations and notifications being pushed out to them during the discovery process
- Availability of 3D renditioning to enable visualization of the custom configured product
- Streamlined buying experience using digital signatures
Mass personalization also require a system being available to buyers at any time and on any device platform that is most convenient for them.
What sellers want (and need) to serve buyers
Who exactly is a seller? A seller is not simply an individual but rather an entity comprised of different groups working together. The sales teams, comprised of representatives and operations, are focused on the individual level opportunities whereas the sales leadership has a higher, all-encompassing view. Marketing, finance, and legal of course also play a large role. However the ultimate goal is the same: a continuous, successful, and efficient sales cycle.
Achieving this type of sales cycle means that the needs of the seller aren’t significantly different from those of the buyer. Both want the information most relevant to each account and both want to operate quickly, easily. However, the seller also wants access to critical information and analysis about the buyer’s behavior. He wants the historical data analysis, sales analytics, and accurate real-time information that provides key insight into individual buying patterns. This is the valuable intelligence that the seller can use to provide personalized service that deepens the relationship with any account.
Designing a buying/selling eco-system that provides a truly customized experience
In terms of technical capabilities, the successful buying/selling eco-system needs to provide seller and buyers with:
- Mobile platforms
- Self-service tools
- Real time data shared across multiple systems
- Business intelligence and analytics
- Up-to-date notification during the entire sales process
- Automated workflows
- Configuration & Pricing Engines
- Document generator
- Product Data Management
All of this can be accomplished using a Configure, Price, and Quote (CPQ) system. A great CPQ solution creates a similar experience across any device, brings benefits to multiple departments at the same time (while increasing efficiency), shortens the sales cycle, and simply makes for a satisfied buyer.