#34: Winning Sales Strategies for PMMs
The power of a frictionless buying journey
This week I had a surprisingly difficult time buying a new tool for my business. And it made me think: the process to buy a product is often just as important as the product itself.
Here’s what happened. My friend Andy recommended a tool that I immediately wanted to try (it will remain unnamed, we’re not here to shame). I went to their site and hit “Start for free” - but, rather than actually get started for free, I ended up in a back and forth battle with their team for several days (more on that below).
As product marketers, we know that a competitive market demands more than just a great product—it requires an outstanding sales process. And often, this means as little friction as possible.
Today we’re going to explore how to design frictionless buying journeys that surprise and delight.
SPONSORED BY JOURNEY
Why Frictionless Matters
Today’s buyers are meaningfully different than buyers of the past. Millennials are now involved in 73% of all buying decisions and Gen Z employees are playing a large part in the buying journey too.
Forrester predicts that by 2025, more than 1/3 of this generation’s buyers will purchase through self-guided digital channels. And studies show that this group is willing to tolerate less back and forth between buyer and vendor.
All this to say, it’s clear the days of the traditional sales process are behind us. We need to adapt ASAP.
Imagine for a second that you need to buy a new mattress. What do you do first?
Option one requires you to get in your car and drive to the store. You walk the aisles testing the firmness of each mattress while a sales associate pitches the product that will get them a bigger bonus. You then order the one you like, going back and forth at checkout to schedule a delivery time.
Option two is significantly simpler. No getting in the car. No sales associate pitches. You head to the Casper website and take a quick quiz to assess your sleeping style. You’re presented with a recommended mattress and you add it to cart. You use the calendar to select a delivery date at checkout, and you have a 100-day guarantee.
You may be surprised to learn that more than 43% of consumers buy a mattress online. Why do they take the risk to buy a mattress without ever feeling it when they could just go to the store and buy a potentially better product with more options? The benefit of the frictionless buying experience.
We see this every day in software sales too (as per my experience this week). Here are two scenarios: the buying journey I suffered through and the one I wish I had experienced instead.
Clicked on “Start for free”
Filled out a form
Waited for email from onboarding team
Tried to book meeting but first available date in calendar was 2+ weeks out
Sent email to customer success to request a sooner date
Went back and forth via email and answered questions I’d already provided in form
Finally got an account setup without the call
Clicked on “Start for free”
Filled out a form
Booked a meeting immediately via calendar app at end of form
Meeting within 24 hours and account is pre-setup based on the answers provided in form
The second option is clearly more delightful and would have shortened the sales cycle significantly. Now, imagine if the dream scenario was your competitor’s buying journey. It’s easy to see how they could win in a head to head battle, even if your product was a better fit (if you don’t get your product into the prospect’s hands, how will they know!).
Want to avoid having your buying flow written about it a newsletter? Here are four strategies you can use to get it optimized right away:
Simplify the Process: Respect your potential buyers' time and effort. Look for opportunities to streamline your existing journey. If there’s 10 steps, ask how you can reduce it down to 5. Chances are, there’s areas you can trim down or eliminate altogether.
Provide a Teaser: You wouldn’t get an ice cream cone without tasting the flavor first, and the same principle applies here too! Don’t have the ability to offer a free trial? Use a tool like Navattic to offer an interactive demo instead.
Personalize: Use the information gathered through intake forms and product analytics to guide discussions and customize sales collateral and product experiences. Make it easy for the buyer to source answers for their questions to cut down on the back and forth with sales.
Embrace New Buying Habits: As millennials increasingly take on decision-making roles, adapt your sales process to their preferences. Remember that millennials prefer digital and asynchronous channels over lengthy phone calls.
Here’s what’s on my packing list for camp this week:
That’s all for this week, campers!