In the technology and communications markets, resellers who pay attention to the buyer experience across their various buying journeys are rewarded with greater success. Most companies are aware of the importance of the buyer journey but struggle to improve it, which leads to decreased sales and stagnant business growth.
While these challenges may seem like just any other hurdle that businesses must face, the truth is that these missed opportunities are entirely unavoidable. This article examines the impact of the buyer experience with technology vendors and resellers, and what the latter can do to generate increased sales at minimal cost.
Four findings to improve your customer buying experience
The channel ecosystem consists of vendors who operate in highly competitive markets and rely on channel partners for a significant portion of their revenue. In this article, we’re taking a close look at the ecosystem and breaking down our findings so you can arrive at your own conclusions and assess your unique situation.
- Better practices in the buyer’s journey can prevent revenue leakage
- Most buyers abandon their buying journey without purchasing
- Resellers are deficient at the discovery and purchasing stages of a buyer’s journey
- The buying journey can be improved in various ways to capture missed opportunities
Revenue leakage can occur at any point in the buyer’s journey. Therefore, resellers need to have better practices in place to help them curb these leakages. A good example is tailoring their marketing and sales around the customer buying journey to boost sales and use personas to create a buyer-centric orientation. Further, resellers can optimise their sales by using the buyer-journey checklist that covers the discovery and purchase stages.
Have you ever started buying something but abandoned your cart midway? I bet you had several reasons, right? Research shows that buyers generally give up on their shopping due to frustration brought about by many reasons. For example, the buyer may lose interest in the buying process because of a slow-loading or confusing website or a complicated checkout process. Picture this: you want to buy a particular item, but a quick search on Google doesn’t give you the required results. The chances are high that you will not do another search because you get interrupted by a notification or a call, and the vendor misses out on an opportunity to close the sale. Technology vendors and resellers need to be vigilant and ensure their websites show up in search engines. This way, buyers who do not already know them can find them and take the next step in their buying journey. Additionally, vendors need to check on their response to vendors who indicate interest, as this impacts their decision to buy or not. Ideally, buyers weigh their options from different competitors to get the best solution. A reseller who has a clear, easy to understand offer and responds promptly and effectively certainly stands a better chance to make a sale.
Guiding your potential customers through the decision-making process in the buying journey is hard and involves taking them through four phases: problem awareness, solution awareness, purchase, and post-purchase experience. Resellers often struggle to successfully help their customers buy through these phases. To perform better, vendors need to develop better approaches to support their partners, but also partners need to consider teaming up with each other inside and outside of their industry to offer a better, fuller proposition to customers and prospects. Partner-to-partner scenarios are evolving more commonly and for a good reason. By working together, resellers can offer an even more compelling value proposition and make the entire buying experience even more competitive.
Many companies invest in making sure their customer journey is intact. They also invest in Net Promoter Scoring. Best practice goes a step further by adding an additional “outside-in” component to their view of the customer. This enables them to add a prospect’s view as well as a customer’s, expanding the target audience. This also provides insights into why potential buyers may be leaving a buying process at points that are not readily obvious to high-tech resellers.
Those companies that not only embrace this new way of assessing and adding rigour to the sales process, but also regularly make the recommended improvements, see up to 30 per cent year-on-year increases in revenue. One client recently attributed $14 million in incremental channel revenue to this assessment.
The data presented comes from Alinea Partners’ global Secret Shopper high-technology reseller research. Alinea Partners attempted to purchase hardware, software and services from more than 650 companies of all sizes around the world. Research results indicate that when resellers improve their buying processes, they generate more revenue, profit and customer stickiness. IT vendors that support their channel partners with these assessments and improvements are able to benefit from this at scale.
The research conducted had plenty of other exciting findings likely to help any reseller. You can get the full report as part of the Evolving Channels Summit that Alinea Partners will host on 6 and 7 April 2022.