The Golden Key to Modern Sales Success


The Gist

  • Customer trust. Buyers demand tangible ROI and aligned vendor expectations.
  • Consumer behavior. Digital natives expect info access and peer verification.
  • Customer feedback. Critical for shaping brand narratives and building trust.

Contrary to popular belief — and our economy — buyer technology spending hasn’t halted. However, buyers are more risk-averse than ever. Their heightened cautiousness, driven by budget and head-count cuts, means buyers scrutinize their purchasing decisions more thoroughly and seek greater assurance of value earlier in the decision-making process.

Add that to the fact that the buying committee continues to grow and the C-suite is now becoming more vocal in decisions, and technology providers have an uphill battle in front of them. To keep up, vendors must prove their product will deliver a tangible return on investment through the use of customer proof points that align with the modern buyer’s expectations.

Let’s take a look at consumer behavior and how to win customer trust. 

Customer Trust: Buyer Expectations for Today’s Technology Vendors

Back in 2012, I started TrustRadius because when I was in the market for both a coffee machine and HR software. I soon realized I could find more readily available information about coffee machines than any kind of HR software. This was and still is a huge disservice to the buyer. From our research, we know 65% of buyers are millennials and Gen Zers, and, therefore, digital natives. They are accustomed to having information at their fingertips, verifying that information with their peers, and connecting with vendors on their terms, aka self-service, similar to what you see with B2C purchases.

Related Article: Building a Gold Standard for Consumer Trust

A woman wearing a decorative ring takes notes on a notepad while looking at her smartphone while sitting at a deskwith a green plant in a silver planter on the left, suggesting shifting consumer behavior and customer trust.
Modern buyers are accustomed to having information at their fingertips, verifying that information with their peers, and connecting with vendors on their terms, aka self-service, as a way of building customer trust, similar to what you see with B2C purchases.sutadimages on Adobe Stock Photos

How GTM Leaders Can Adapt to the Self-Serve Economy

Last year our research showed virtually 100% of buyers want to self-serve all or part of the buying journey. This year, we learned they not only want to self-serve, but 97% stated it would be somewhat or very helpful to have all of their research and resources in one place. In this information age of instant access to product information and peer feedback, it’s imperative Go-to-Market (GTM) leaders adapt by controlling their brand narrative in more places than their owned website or social properties.

Here are seven ways GTM leaders can adapt to the “prove it or lose it” mindset and make a buyer’s short-list early in the decision-making process:

1. Meet Your Buyers Where They Are With the Content They Want

To effectively engage with buyers, GTM leaders must meet them where they spend their time. Instead of relying solely on traditional marketing-led content, such as blogs and marketing collateral, it’s essential to identify and prioritize the channels buyers actively engage with and lead with: testimonials, quotes, use cases and proof points. Consumer behavior has changed. Only 15% of buyers report consulting vendor-driven marketing materials when making a technology purchase. Instead, buyers stated that product demos, free trials and pricing information were the most influential resources in the buying journey.

2. Enable Buyers to ‘Try Before They Buy’

One of the most effective ways to win over skeptical buyers and build customer trust is by offering hands-on access to the product. In fact, 74% of buyers said it was among the top three most influential resources when making a purchase decision. Offering free trials/accounts or product demos (video or interactive) lets potential customers experience your product’s features, benefits and value firsthand. This approach builds trust and bridges the gap between the vendor’s marketing tactics and the buyer’s desire for “try before you buy.”

Related Article: Conquering the Customer Feedback Gap

3. Leverage Customer Voice in All Channels

Today’s technology buyers increasingly rely on customer feedback to validate marketing claims. Yet, many vendors still don’t leverage this powerful resource to differentiate themselves. GTM leaders must incorporate customer voice into all their marketing channels to build brand preference and customer trust with potential buyers and their customer base.

Encourage your customers to share their experiences in all forums — online, communities, events, reviews, etc. Your buyers want in-depth customer feedback — the good, the bad and the ugly. Customer feedback is the perfect opportunity to shape a cohesive brand narrative with critical social proof.


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