3 Common Friction Points During the Buyer’s Journey (and How to Prevent Them)

4 minutes
Dec 10, 2021
Sales Effectiveness

What does your freshman high school English class and modern selling have in common? An old poem titled For Want of a Nail. It’s a proverb that reveals how the...

What does your freshman high school English class and modern selling have in common? An old poem titled For Want of a Nail.

It’s a proverb that reveals how the smallest of friction points can cascade into devastating consequences. In it, a single nail slips out of a medieval war-horse’s horseshoe … which winds up crippling the horse … which winds up maiming its rider … which winds up causing a critical message about an upcoming battle to never reach the front lines.

For want of a battle the kingdom was lost, the poem concludes rather grimly, And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

So let’s bring the lesson home. Friction derails deals. 

There are ways to mitigate — or outright eliminate — mistakes, misunderstandings and other friction points in the sales process. For instance, account-based marketing best practices can make all the difference. When savvy sellers use the right revenue technologies, they understand their prospects’ buying readiness in nuanced detail.

But since most sales organizations haven’t yet embraced ABM, their sales teams must navigate minefield after minefield of “gotchas,” putting their deals (and ultimately the health of their companies) at continuous risk.

If your revenue team is experiencing these three common buyer friction points, it’s probably time to get an assist from modern ABM best practices and platforms:

Friction Point #1: Not Knowing Who Your Buyers Are

In face-to-face B2B sales meetings, the first thing a seller usually does is research the buyer — or at least get introductions so they can be mindful of the roles involved and the messages they’ll be receptive to. Online B2B sales interactions are no different.

It’s standard practice to know enough about the account to make sure it’s fundamentally a fit for your solution. So start by defining your Ideal Customer Profile — those truly great accounts — and devote the lion’s share of your sales and marketing energy to them.

Then, knowing the following information about an account is table stakes:

  • Category of the business
  • Size of the business
  • Make-up of the buying team
  • Presumed stage that the account is in its buying journey

Enlist next-gen account engagement technology to expose this information automatically so your engagement is efficient, effective and accurate. World-class platforms use AI and big data to trace patterns of accounts that you’ve historically done the best business with. This empowers your team to identify similar accounts, ensuring their marketing and sales energies are fruitful.

Friction Point #2: Making Content Inaccessible

Gating content on your website with mandatory fill-forms in another unnecessary friction point. It makes prospects work harder to get the information they need to make an informed purchasing decision.

Further, few buyers want to cough up their contact information in exchange for an asset that probably isn’t worth the amount of ongoing spammy emails they’ll receive from the seller’s revenue team. 

In fact, over 90% of buyers would rather bail on a fill-form than fill it out.

The remedy is to make your content more freely available — ideally, completely ungated — but structure and track it with technologies that reveal where the buyer is in their buying journey and what kinds of information they need to keep progressing toward a purchase.

The ABM solutions you specifically need are:

  • A Customer Data Platform (CDP)
  • Software that can reveal intent data and match them to known accounts
  • Predictive technologies

With these in place, you can say goodbye to forms and hello to visible, scalable content engagement. 

Friction Point #3: Pushing Content on Buyers in Ways They Don’t Like

You know those pre-programmed nurture tracks that your team has diagrammed? 5 days before your audience sees this, another 3 before they see that?

They look nice and neat on a whiteboard, but they don’t place nicely with the messy manner in which real buyers consume information. 

Buyers don’t follow linear content-consumption patterns. They may take to some mid-funnel content one week and top-of-funnel content the next. They go dark for prolonged periods of time, return to full-on binge your material, and then vanish for a little while longer. 

Your revenue team can combat this mercurial behavior by using account-engagement technologies that can intelligently anticipate these shifts and offer precisely relevant content that’s precisely tuned to their buying stage at precisely the right time

Conclusion

If you’ve invested time and resources in avoiding the previous two friction points, you’re in good shape:

  • You know the accounts that are investigating your solution, including their industry and size
  • And you know the keywords they’re glomming onto and where they’re at in their journey

Now you just need to stay disciplined in serving them high-quality content that’s always relevant, no matter if they’re a first-time visitor or ready-to-go purchaser. 

And make sure your website and outbound content are in sync. In other words, don’t hype the “must-read, brand new whitepaper” to an account that’s already discovered and consumed it on your website two weeks ago.

A great account engagement solution (like 6sense!) can prevent such occurrences — and should ensure that even the smallest of mistakes don’t cascade into a loss on the sales battlefield.