Many factors come into play when making a sale, but broadly speaking, the single most important factor may be credibility. If a lead trusts a company and its sales staff, and feels they are a good source of information and solutions, they are going to be far more likely to convert.
Building that sense of credibility is difficult, but there are ways to tip the odds in your favor. Plenty of research has gone into understanding buyer behavior and decision-making. We’ve been watching the charts, and have a few suggestions for you and your partners based on recent studies
1. Don’t rely entirely on internally-produced content.
A Demand Gen Report study released last year looked into what forms of content buyers find most believable and credible. The results were hardly surprising, but still important to keep in mind. The most credible forms of content are those produced by a third party, and/or included an element of peer review or public commentary. Conversely, self-produced content entirely produced by a vendor was seen as the least trustworthy and least-used. 39% of respondents even said they “rarely” or “never” rely on purely self-produced materials.
Therefore, include plenty of outside research as part of your content, particularly when it comes from sources which are already trustworthy.
2. Being helpful builds trust.
Broadly speaking, the more helpful or “hands on” a vendor is, the more likely someone will buy from them – at least according to data from TrustRadius. In particular, TrustRadius found that the most beneficial activity is working with the buyer “on pricing and/or packaging.” Other highly helpful activities include answering questions based on a request for proposal, creating customized demos, and contributing to strategy in a consultancy role.
This also suggests, by implication, that sales staff should be more than simple spokespeople. Encourage your sales partners to train their staff to be more broadly helpful, or implement your own e-learning modules.
3. Bring new ideas (and value!) to the table.
The RAIN Group Center For Sales Research looked into when buyers most want to hear from sellers. As it turns out, buyers are least interested in hearing back simply based on a direct inquiry. What they really want are new ideas and possibilities to drive results (71%) and actionable solutions to known problems (62%).
As with #2, this further suggests that your partner sales staff should be broadening their skill base, as well as actively researching their leads with an eye towards proactively offering helpful suggestions.