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what is buyer enablement and why is it important
July 17, 2023

Why Buyer Enablement Is Important in Today’s Buyer Journey

what is buyer enablement and why is it important

Change has come to enablement.

For years, we’ve talked about sales enablement and how enablement can help sales teams sell more. What skills do sellers need? What’s the best training strategy? How do you ensure sellers receive coaching? What sales content do teams need? How do you ensure the content created meets those needs?

That remains very important and isn’t going away. But we’ve discovered that enablement encompasses much more. It includes everyone who plays a role in helping to generate revenue for the business: sales, marketing, enablement, HR, and customer success. Enablement is now revenue enablement.

Revenue enablement is a holistic organizational approach that gives every team the right training, coaching, and content to engage and support leads, prospects, and buyers at every opportunity. Every role that touches the buyer journey contributes to revenue through sales, upsells, cross-sells, and renewals.

And within that, buyer enablement has emerged. That makes sense, since buyers are in the pilot’s seat now, charting their own buyer journey.

What Is Buyer Enablement?

Buyer enablement equips and empowers potential buyers with the information, resources, and tools they need to make informed purchasing decisions. It focuses on helping buyers navigate their buying journey, addressing their concerns, and providing them with the necessary knowledge and support to choose the right product or service.

The rise of the internet and digital technology has given buyers access to vast amounts of information online, causing the shift in the sales power dynamic. Today, buyers conduct extensive research before engaging with sales reps, and they expect personalized and relevant information throughout their buying journey.

Effective buyer enablement involves understanding the buyer’s journey and aligning sales and marketing efforts to support buyers at each stage.

Buyer enablement recognizes this shift and aims to meet the needs of modern buyers. It involves providing buyers with educational content, such as whitepapers, articles, videos, and case studies, to help them understand their challenges, explore potential solutions, and evaluate different options. It also involves creating interactive tools, such as product demos, that allow buyers to visualize and experience the product or service themselves.

Effective buyer enablement involves understanding the buyer’s journey and aligning sales and marketing efforts to support buyers at each stage. This includes providing content and resources that address specific pain points, answering frequently asked questions, and facilitating communication and collaboration between buyers and sales reps.

The Importance of Enablement in the Buyer Journey

By adopting buyer enablement strategies, businesses can build trust, establish credibility, and differentiate themselves from competitors. It helps create a more customer-centric approach to sales and fosters long-term relationships with buyers, leading to increased sales and higher customer satisfaction.

3 Reasons Why Enablement Is Important to the Buyer Journey

Here are three key reasons why enablement is important in the buyer journey:

  1. Empowers Decision-Making: Enablement ensures that buyers have access to the right information and resources at each stage of their journey. By providing relevant content, such as product specifications, comparison guides, case studies, and testimonials, enablement helps buyers evaluate their options effectively. This empowers them to make informed decisions based on their specific needs, leading to higher customer satisfaction and reduced buyer’s remorse.
  2. Builds Trust and Credibility: Buyers seek trust and credibility in the brands they engage with. Enablement helps build trust by providing transparent and accurate information about products or services. When buyers feel supported and equipped with the knowledge they need, they are more likely to trust the seller and have confidence in their purchase decision. This trust can result in stronger customer relationships, repeat business, and referrals.
  3. Helps Buyers Overcome Barriers and Challenges: The B2B buyer journey is complex and full of challenges. Enablement addresses these challenges by anticipating and proactively providing solutions to potential barriers. This involves addressing common objections, providing clear explanations, and helping through various channels, such as live chat, FAQs, or customer support. By addressing concerns and overcoming obstacles, enablement helps buyers progress smoothly through the journey, increasing the likelihood of successful conversions.

Understanding the Buyer Journey

The buyer journey generally includes six stages:

  1. Awareness: The buyer becomes aware of a need or desire for a particular product or service.
  2. Research: The buyer begins to gather information about available options. They may conduct online research, read product reviews, compare features and prices, and seek recommendations.
  3. Consideration: In this stage, the buyer evaluates the different options based on their needs, preferences, and budget. They narrow down their choices to a few alternatives that seem most suitable.
  4. Decision: After careful consideration, the buyer decides to purchase a specific product or service.
  5. Purchase: The buyer completes the transaction by making the actual purchase.
  6. Post-Purchase Evaluation: After making the purchase, the buyer assesses their satisfaction with the product or service. Positive experiences can lead to customer loyalty and repeat purchases, while negative experiences may result in returns, complaints, or negative reviews.

Key Players in the Buyer Journey

Each stage of the buyer journey involves different players. The buyer may be in the pilot’s seat, but they interact with several items and people along the way. Plus, the people who create the items that buyers interact with play critical roles in the purchasing decision.

The Buyer: The buyer is the main character and decision-maker throughout the buyer journey. Their journey usually starts when they discover a need or problem, and that triggers their search for a solution. As they progress, the buyer evaluates various options, engages with information and resources, and ultimately makes a purchase decision based on their preferences and requirements.

Marketing Team: The marketing team creates awareness of and generates interest in a product or service. Marketers use various marketing channels and tactics to engage potential buyers, provide them with relevant information, and nurture their interest. Ultimately, the marketing team aims to influence and guide the buyer towards making a purchase decision by effectively communicating the value and benefits of the offering.

Sales Team: Sales reps directly engage with potential buyers and guide them through the sales process. They build relationships, address buyer’s questions and concerns, provide personalized solutions, and act as consultants. The sales team’s goal is to convert prospects into customers by effectively communicating the value proposition, negotiating terms, and closing the sale.

Enablement Team: The enablement team supports the buyer journey by equipping the sales team with the necessary tools, resources, and training to effectively engage with potential buyers. They provide product knowledge, sales training, and sales collateral to empower the sales team in their interactions with buyers. The enablement team’s role is to ensure that the sales team is well-prepared and capable of delivering a seamless and valuable experience throughout the buyer journey.

Subject Matter Experts (SMEs): We may be entering “The Age of the SME.” With buyers more informed than ever, they are asking tougher and more technical questions. Combine this with the fact that many offerings have grown in both their breadth and depth, it’s harder for any single salesperson to be an expert on all aspects of a solution. That means sellers are leaning on pre-sales and other subject matter experts to answer those tough questions from buyers.

How the Buyer Journey Has Changed

In the past, buyers would follow a linear journey through each of the steps outlined above. That is no longer the case; buyers may enter and exit different stages at various points.

Additionally, advancements in technology and the rise of ecommerce have significantly influenced consumer behavior, leading to new buying journey models, such as omnichannel and digital-first journeys.

Non-Linear Buyer Journey Example:

A buyer attends an industry event and sees a software demo. Intrigued by the potential benefits, they start exploring the benefits of that software further. They then enter the research stage, conducting their own online research about the software they saw. After that, they reach out to the software company’s sales team to gain a deeper understanding of the product’s features.

During that evaluation stage, however, one of the buyer stakeholders mentions another company’s product and that it may cost less. So, the buyer goes back to the research stage, investigating other products and companies.

As they return to the evaluation stage, they’re also evaluating the additional products they discovered during the research stage.

Satisfied that the first product meets their need, has features they want, is compatible with current systems, and has a price that meets their budget, the buyer then moves forward to the negotiation and purchase stages.

Self-Guided Learning

As you see in the example above, self-guided learning plays a key part in today’s buyer journey. Buyers actively seek out and acquire knowledge on their own, often using available resources and technology without direct instruction or guidance from others.

In the B2B buyer journey, self-guided learning has become increasingly prevalent due to the abundance of information and resources available online. Buyers now have the power to conduct extensive research, compare products or services, and educate themselves before engaging with sales reps. In fact, B2B buyers are 57% to 70% through their buying research before contacting a sales rep, according to Forrester.

B2B buyers are 57% to 70% through their buying research before contacting a sales rep.

— Forrester

Sales, marketing, and enablement teams, therefore, must adjust their strategies to accommodate buyers’ self-guided learning activities. It’s also critical that they collaborate with one another.

  • Sales teams need to recognize that buyers are entering the sales process more educated and informed than ever before. Instead of focusing solely on product features and benefits, sales reps should position themselves as trusted advisors who can provide valuable insights and personalized guidance.
  • Marketing teams must invest in creating high-quality content that addresses buyers’ pain points and provides relevant information at each stage of the buyer journey.
  • Enablement teams must ensure sales reps have access to the right resources, tools, and training to engage effectively with self-guided buyers and provide the necessary support throughout the sales process.

When the three teams align their efforts and adapt to the changing buyer behavior, they can enhance the overall customer experience and increase the likelihood of successful conversions.

10 Buyer Enablement Best Practices

At its essence, buyer enablement revolves around providing buyers with the necessary information, resources, and tools to empower them in making well-informed purchasing choices.

These 10 buyer enablement best practices will help you achieve that.

  1. Understand the buyer’s journey: Gain a deep understanding of the buyer’s journey, including the different stages and decision-making processes involved. This knowledge will help you tailor your enablement efforts to meet the specific needs of buyers at each stage.
  2. Create buyer personas: Develop detailed buyer personas that represent your target audience. These personas should include demographic information, pain points, motivations, and preferred communication channels. Understanding your buyers’ needs and preferences will allow you to provide relevant and personalized enablement resources.
  3. Provide educational content: Create and distribute educational content that addresses the challenges, questions, and concerns of your target buyers. This content can take various forms, such as blog articles, whitepapers, videos, webinars, and case studies. Make sure the content is optimized for search engines, easily accessible, and well-organized on your website or other platforms, such as Digital Sales Rooms.
  4. Utilize multiple channels: Reach buyers through multiple channels to maximize your enablement efforts. This can include email marketing, social media platforms, online communities, industry events, and direct sales interactions. The key is to meet buyers where they are and deliver relevant, personalized information in a timely manner.
  5. Offer self-service resources: Enable buyers to research and evaluate your products or services independently by providing self-service resources. This can include product demos, free trials, interactive tools, FAQs, knowledge bases, and customer testimonials. Self-service options empower buyers to make informed decisions and reduce their reliance on sales reps for basic information.
  6. Train and empower sales teams: Ensure that your sales teams are equipped with the content, knowledge, and skills necessary to support buyers effectively. Provide ongoing training on your products or services, market trends, competitive analysis, and effective sales techniques. Empower your sales reps to be trusted advisors who can guide buyers through the decision-making process.
  7. Personalize the buying experience: Tailor your enablement efforts to individual buyers whenever possible. Leverage data, insights, and AI to understand each buyer’s specific needs and preferences. Personalization can involve customized content recommendations, targeted offers, and personalized interactions that demonstrate a deep understanding of the buyer’s context.
  8. Gather and utilize buyer feedback: Actively seek feedback from buyers about their experiences with your enablement resources and sales process. Use this feedback to identify areas for improvement and refine your buyer enablement strategies. Regularly assess the effectiveness of your enablement efforts and adjust accordingly.
  9. Foster buyer engagement and collaboration: Encourage buyer engagement by creating opportunities for collaboration and interaction. This can include Digital Sales Rooms, online communities, user forums, live chat support, and social media engagement. Facilitating dialogue among buyers and with your organization can enhance trust, build relationships, and foster a sense of community.
  10. Measure and optimize: Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the effectiveness of your buyer enablement efforts. Track metrics such as engagement rates, conversion rates, customer satisfaction scores, and sales velocity. Continuously analyze the data, identify areas for improvement, and optimize your buyer enablement strategies based on insights gained.

The Future of the Buyer Journey and the Role of Buyer Enablement

Advancements in technology, such as AI, chatbots, virtual reality will continue to impact buyer behaviors and, as a result, the buyer journey. Businesses must prepare for this and evolve their buyer enablement strategies. Keep an eye on emerging tech and meet buyers wherever they go. No matter what the medium, you want to ensure buyers receive highly targeted content that resonates and addresses their unique pain points and challenges.

The good news is the technology that influences buyers can also be applied to enablement. AI and automation will allow enablement teams to leverage data and analytics to gain actionable insights into buyer behavior and preferences. Further, businesses will be able to utilize advanced analytics tools to monitor and analyze buyer interactions across various touchpoints, identifying patterns and trends that can inform decision-making and enable more effective targeting and personalization.

Overall, the future of the buyer journey will be characterized by personalization, interactivity, and automation. Enablement will be essential in providing buyers with the right information, tools, and support they need. That, in turn, will enable businesses to build stronger relationships, increase customer satisfaction, and drive growth in today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape.

Equip Your Sellers to Meet Buyers’ Needs

Download 6 Buyer Engagement Strategies for B2B Sales Teams and learn how to engage the digital-first buyer by creating relevant, personalized experiences.

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