Buyers Guides

In today’s digital marketplace, buyers are overwhelmed by choices. Many rely on G2 Crowd, Trust Radius and other similar review sites. Others reach out their personal network and professional forums to get the “inside scoop” on a specific product or service.While this may or may not work in your favor, the fact is that many buyers are influenced by subjective bias, lack of time, and no formal comparative analysis.

If you are selling consumer products, and the market decides that your product is “hot” then subjective bias will work in your favor. For a complex B2B SaaS sales cycle, the process is quite different. Negotiations and proposals may take months to complete, and product comparisons are made without including the sellers in the comparison conversations. In fact the seller is often excluded from any competitive analysis.

However sales is a two-way street, with buyer and seller looking for the best fit in the shortest period of time, and in some cases it make sense to produce a “buyers guide” to guide your prospects. A buyers guide can actually remove subjective bias while framing the conversation around your buyers needs.

Some sales and marketing leaders fear that a buyers guide may introduce too many variables, especially if your competitor offers specific features that you may lack (or not do very well). As most buyers will be familiar with the  top 3 or 4 competitors in your category, then what do you lose by providing a buyers guide to steer that conversation?

Put yourself in the place of your prospects, and consider how much they need to learn in a short period to make a good decision. If a buyers guide makes sense for your prospects, consider the following elements:

Elements of a Buyers Guide

  1. Problem Definition: What are the problem(s) the customer is trying to solve?
  2. Product Segmentation: What are the key variables for comparing similar products?
  3. Product Adoption: What are the technical and training requirements to onboard new users?  
  4. Customer Success: What are critical milestones for customers to achieve their goals?
  5. Customer Outcomes: How do client goals and KPI’s contribute to business goals?
  6. Customer Concerns: How should prospects approach similar vendors to alleviate buyers remorse?

Most often buyers are required to review three comparable solutions and provide a framework for objective analysis. In many cases, these frameworks are incomplete or quite possibly inaccurate as the buyer may not understand how to assess a feature set and do a weighted analysis. In the worst case, the product comparison matrix is a short email, with no weighted analysis, based on pricing alone.

Benefits of Buyers Guide

Consider for a moment all the time and energy it takes to get relevant stakeholders to the table to make a buying decision. Consider how many rounds of negotiation and proposals it takes to close new business. Consider how valuable time is a part of the equation for sales velocity.

Imagine building consensus much sooner in the buying cycle around critical elements that are important to your customers. And finally, imagine that if you did not close the deal that have built up enough credibility to respectfully inquire why.

If a buyers guide helps you close some new business faster, or helps you avoid deasl that were not going to close, wouldn’t that time savings alone be worth it? In additon, you garner credibility by presenting a buyers guide with your customer stories proving that similar companies achieve the results you promise.

If your company distributes a buyer guide, or is considering one in the near future, we’d like to know. Join SalesStack today to share your insights and how well it is working for you. To learn more about SalesStack for B2B Marketing and Sales teams contact chris@outboundedge.com or send a DM to @chriso.