Customers buy from people they trust. In the last few years, as the world braved the pandemic, trust has become even more important. According to Salesforce’s most recent State of Connected Customer report, 88% of buyers feel that trust becomes more critical for them in times of change. The problem is, there are fewer opportunities to make connections in person. B2B and social selling began eroding some of those personal connections, but the pandemic made it impossible for sales teams to get out into the field and meet their prospects in person.
With so many people still working remotely, it may seem difficult to find those opportunities for relationship-building between sales teams and prospective customers. A Zoom meeting doesn’t always cut it when it comes to connection. There are ways, however, that your team can use technology and knowledge management to build better relationships, even if everyone is working remotely.
The role of presales in relationship building
Sales representatives are usually the face of the sales operation, but now that so many people work remotely, presales engineers are an amazing resource when it comes to trust-building. According to research from LinkedIn, buyers have high expectations when it comes to trusted sellers. More than half of buyers expect their sellers to understand their business needs, while 47% of buyers expect the seller to understand their role in the buying process and to provide personal communications.
It’s the job of the presales engineer to do that research, truly understand the buyer's business needs as well as who the decision-makers are and what they do within their organization. Presales engineers then map those needs to the product. All of the research generated by presales is extremely important for sales reps, who might feel a little wrong-footed if they’re not getting face time with the prospect.
By using knowledge management tools to share content related to the prospect’s pain points, job description, or industry, presales can help sales representatives respond instantly to prospect questions, or - even better - be proactive when it comes to giving clients information. It pays off; according to LinkedIn, the best sellers are constantly researching their prospects.
Using technology to build trust
According to LinkedIn, top sellers in the top cohort are more likely than other sellers to use sales technology to build relationships with customers. This means more than updating data in the CRM; sellers are using technology often to understand, communicate with, and help their buyers. It also means leveraging knowledge management tools to engage with customers.
Take, for example, the example of software company Guidewire. During the pandemic,, faced with lockdown, the company created an engagement portal for its customers, according to senior vice president Colleen Bashar, who participated in a 2020 Ombud webinar.
“One of the things we’ve done to continue that goal of building trust is we're using Ombud as a customer engagement portal when we're involved in a sales cycle,” said Bashar. “ We call it Guru. It’s a branded portal, tailored specifically to the prospect and to the opportunity and the topic .We put a ton of content on there and it's really easy for both Guidewire and the prospect to upload and download content to this site.”
This portal has made the sales process easier for the clients, because they don’t have to search through emails or messages to find information Guidewire sent them. Everything is all in one spot.
Building trust is important, no matter how it’s done
Sales is all about human relationships. That’s reflected in the way salespeople have traditionally operated over the last several decades; traditional sales people go out to meet their prospects in person, share meals, drop into the office for a chat, and have informal discussions before or after a presentation. The trust that’s built during these small moments of connection is a key part of the sales process.
Using technology to help create better human relationships is the next step for salespeople and remote workers. Knowledge enablement can help your team do just that. Interested in learning more? Request an Ombud demo here.