September 23, 2021

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Speaker  00:00
Our solution provides next generation enabled feedback across a broad range of knowledge in order to engage staff with your vision. 

Ed Golod  00:05
What are they actually saying? Wait a minute, I don’t even understand this. 

Speaker  00:10
It helps you to connect with clients at various touch points. 

Ed Golod  00:13
What? Wait a minute, is this something that will help me? 

Speaker  00:16
Business schemas to add value and assist in achieving business objectives. 

Ed Golod  00:19
You got to be kidding. 

Speaker  00:21
Any thoughts or feedback on our solution.

Ed Golod 00:23
What’s the point in making? 

Speaker  00:28
Welcome to the SaaSy Thought Leadership podcast. The podcast that teaches you how to turn your technical expertise into revenue. Here’s your SaaSy hostess. Gloria Gunn.

Gloria Gunn  00:43
Welcome. I’m so glad that you decided to spend maybe about 30 minutes with us today. So buckle up, we’re going to go ahead and set the stage for you. I’ve got with me, Ed Golod, he is our CRO over at Linkedsure and we’re really, really excited to be here Ed.

Ed Golod  01:00
Well. How are you and I’m pretty pumped up.

Gloria Gunn  01:03
Yeah, love, love these absolutely love these discussions. So for him, tons of fun, we’re gonna have a blast. Today, we’re gonna go ahead and we’re going to take a deep dive. That’s what we do around here. I don’t know if you guys know at all things about leadership, where we bust up some myths, we speak some real truths and hopefully learn something that you can take and apply to your business along the way. Now, today’s episode is all about the buyer’s journey. And I want to do something outside of the box.
Okay, let’s take a look at our buyers. We want to go inside the mind of our buyers, our prospects and discuss that psychological and emotional process that they go through in order to make that buying decision. All right, and then we need to look at it from like where you are as a vendor, you want to sell your prospect your solution. Right. So how does all that fit in? And what can you do to gain that competitive advantage? Deep, deep stuff Ed?  Love it.

Ed Golod  02:00
It is but it’s deep. And yet you know, Gloria, it’s pretty practical.

Gloria Gunn  02:05
It is extremely practical, and it is needed. And you know, a couple of things. Here’s a couple of stats, you know, I’m kind of big into the stats and all that. But I think you know, what you got to do is you got to look at the statistics and you got to kind of ask questions about it, right? Just go like, Why? What does that mean to us? And can we take anything from that? And so, one of the stats is from CEB, I think they’re pretty reputable. All right.

Ed Golod  02:33
Yeah. Yeah, they’re, they’re actually huge. You know, for those folks who don’t know, a CEB had a gentleman named Mr. Dixon, and he had some partners. They’re the folks that wrote the challenger sale. They wrote it in CEB, they spun it out. And then Gartner bought CEB for a billion dollars because they wanted all the marketing expertise. So it’s pretty credible.

Gloria Gunn  02:57
Yeah, yeah. Thanks for that Ed. So the CEB says, B2B buyers are typically 57% of the way to a buying decision before actively engaging with a sales rep. Okay, that’s one stat. We’ll talk about that. And then here’s another one CSO insights. Are they a pretty big deal?

Ed Golod  03:17
Yeah, they’re actually smaller, and they do a little more tech. But my money is on them, too.

Gloria Gunn  03:24
You are like an encyclopedia of all these different companies, right? 

Ed Golod  03:28
I know alot about nothing.

Gloria Gunn  03:30
You just have all these facts and figures that we’ll talk about Harvard, you know, was a Harvard Business Review. And all right, right. Yeah, no, just kidding. Um, so anyway, what this CSO insight says, All right, is 70% of the buyers fully define their needs on their own, before engaging with a sales rep. And 44% identify specific solutions before even reaching out to a seller? And let’s unpack these for a second. Because I think it’s worth a little bit of a discussion here. Seriously. What does that tell us?

Ed Golod  04:03
Yeah, it tells us a lot. Now. I don’t want to disagree with you, cuz I’m trying to be nice, but that’s a bit older. And I know why you put it because we’re trying to be conservative. The 57% goes back about six years. Today, right now. It’s almost 90%. But 57 is a heck of a good way to get started.

Gloria Gunn  04:25
Yeah, yes, I would believe that it’s higher. I actually think that’s a little bit low because of all of the events and stuff like that. And you know, this brings me up to a good point. I think we had a discussion about this a while ago. I was doing some research for a client and I came across this article. It was fascinating. And it was about B2B acquisitions. Not business acquisitions, but us buying B2B type of stuff from vendors that sell their solutions to other businesses from. Yes, so what this already I was saying is that because of all of the events and how work has changed, everything has changed.
What’s happened, you know, how we buy consumer goods has changed, right? And so what has happened is a lot of what’s going on in the consumer space is leaking over to the B2B space, in terms of how people what information they want served up to them, so that they can become as self-serve as possible. So it’s fascinating, and the article talked about, and I’ll go ahead and I will get the source and put it in the show notes. But what was interesting about this was for decent size purchases. I mean, these were B2B, this was not like a, you know, $100 a month software thing or whatever the…

Ed Golod  05:51
Bigger stuff. It was bigger stuff.

Gloria Gunn  05:52
Exactly. And so if you think about that, okay, I believe it based on you know, how buyers, you know, how they act through the buying journey process, which we’ll, we’ll get to in just a second. But if you think about that, it makes total sense that, why wouldn’t we want information served up to us so that we can come to as much of the buying decision on our own and make that decision without having to talk to anybody, you know, we wanted a self service possible. We don’t need to talk to a sales rep when we’re making a purchase decision with Amazon, right? What we do is we have the information right there, you got product description, you’ve got questions and answers, all that stuff. And that’s kind of mimicking that B2B space. Fascinating stuff, Ed.

Ed Golod  06:40
Yeah, it’s becoming a self-serve model. And in all fairness to you, your stats are great. But what’s changed so quickly, oh, is the pandemic has pulled us forward. They say between five, I think, six years, the digital world that we knew five years ago, was doing fine. Now it’s come forward, almost five X, because now we’re working at home. We’re dealing with noise or children, we’re dealing with the way that companies are different. The customers are different, everything is changing.
And the buyers have gone from doing their research, and then you know, doing 60%, 70% of their research, to now practically doing 90% because they don’t meet with us, we don’t walk in the door and have lunch with them. We don’t do presentations in their office. It’s all digital, and is 8, 9,10 zooms a day. So we’re all moving quickly, preparing, it’s almost like being on a roller coaster actually.

Gloria Gunn  07:46
Yeah, it is. It’s because of the events and people are just, you know, they’re busy and all this type of stuff.

Ed Golod  07:54
Right.

Gloria Gunn  07:55
And, they’re just really used to, you know, I trust myself to get the information I need to make a decision, you know, I don’t necessarily trust what somebody’s feeding me. Let me go do my research on my own. And this kind of is a nice segue into the buyer’s journey, because that is a real thing. And I think for those of us that are marketing to sell our goods and services, it’s really critical to know and understand this stuff, so that you become better at it. Right?
For example, I think we were talking about the discussion of branding, you know, branding and positioning, and I read something interesting. That branding is. This is what branding is, what that company that you’re dealing with thinks that your business is about. That’s what branding is, it is the perception, what we do is we try to do the branding, and we do all this to have a different perception in the mind of the buyer. But it’s really what they think it is and how they interpret it at the time. That is your brand to that particular prospect.

Ed Golod  09:03
Right. It’s that perception, and you’re trying to match it to that.

Gloria Gunn  09:07
Exactly, yeah, you’re trying to, you know, change that perception a little bit. So what happens in the mind of the buyer, you know, their perceptions, their belief systems, how they react, all of that stuff is very, very important to understand, so that you can get a little bit of a competitive edge. And so we have a situation here, it’s called the buyer’s journey, and what that is, and we know what that is, right, the psychological process, somebody goes through, when they are going to make, you know, a purchase decision, you know, not something like you’re at the grocery store and you need a pack of gum or something like that. These are like, kind of like major purchases, right?
And so that first one ad is kind of it just goes like this. So the first thing is I have a problem. So the first step of the buyer’s journey, I have a problem. What are other people saying or doing that are exhibiting some of the same symptoms that I’m having? Okay. So what they’re recognizing is kind of like, Okay, if my TV just broke, and I need a new TV, right? So I’m going to look around and I’m going to ask questions. Well, which one should I get? You know which one’s the best one? You know, this is a demo, you do it. 

Ed Golod  10:25
Right. You’re doing the homework.

Gloria Gunn  10:27
That’s exactly right. And so that’s what step one of the buyer’s journey is. But for B2B, it’s a little more complex than just my broken TV. I need a new TV. It’s because you’ve got a problem. Usually, you’ve got a business problem, right? And it manifests itself in different ways, right? I mean, if you’ve got a problem, you’re going to have symptoms, right, have that problem?

Ed Golod  10:48
Well, exactly. And it’s up to the sellers to sort of know that, you know, on a nice little side note, I worked at Eloqua. For many years, they were at that point, they were the leader in all marketing automation. And we were all obsessed with the buyer’s journey. We had it done automatically. And we were selling it to big companies. Again, fast forward, the digital transformation because of being shut in. And now the pandemic has made the buyer’s journey, I wouldn’t say exasperated, I would say illuminated. And now people are hyper focused on it.
Because again, we don’t go to trade shows, we don’t get to meet them. We’re not having entertainment with them. It’s a digital engagement we have with people. And that’s made it harder to really know, what are they thinking? How are they feeling? What are they going to be researching? What are they buying? It’s more complicated. So you’re right. It’s not only they have a problem they’re researching. They’re looking for somebody they could trust. And trust. Is that something you open up a box of m&ms, or a bag of m&ms and it’s in the bag? You have to earn trust.

Gloria Gunn  11:55
Yeah, yeah. Such a smart point. And not only is it trust, and we’ll go into how you earn that trust. But let’s step back just a second. Because if you think about business problems, right? Usually it would be an overarching problem. Like, say, for example, the business problem is, you know, I’m losing revenue, you know, I’m not making sales, that may be a business problem, I need more sales. Well, it could manifest itself in many ways if the business isn’t an operational problem? Is it a strategic problem? Is that a problem with your marketing, a problem with your sales? Is it a problem with your product, right? And so you’ve got this kind of this grand, you know, I’ve got this problem.
And what the buyer has to do is they have to come to some conclusions on what is really, how can I isolate and figure out what is really the thing causing my problem. And so when they’re in that exploratory phase, I’ve got a problem. But I can’t really get my arms around it, and you nailed it Ed, that is a perfect time, to be front and center, and to share your expertise. So that they know that, you know, you are well positioned to solve problems like there’s. Okay, that’s where you establish the trust is by getting your expertise in front of them, when they’re the very beginning part of their buyer’s journey. Yeah?

Ed Golod  13:20
Yeah, you just nailed it when you said share, so is trust that we need to build because we’re not having this engagement physically and the buyer today, because of the digital explosion, is really struggling with the complexity of I want to buy some software, I need to find the partner or a vendor I could use, I need to look at their social profile. Do they know my business? Are they trustworthy? You know, it’s really funny. I was having a virtual bee. Sort of weird, right? Because you know, I spilled it, but nobody knows, I spilled it on me. And I’m having virtual beer with someone. And they said, you know, Ed, when you talk, you’re really a thought leader, you know so much about it.
And I said, whether I’m a thought leader or not, everything has changed. So when you think of the buyer’s journey today, you really have to look at these four steps that we’re talking about, and ask the question. If you were them, and you were home, and you had maybe the dog barking, or kids or whatever, and you’re dealing with your management and your boss and the customers, and you’re compressed in time and budget, you have to buy different, which means we have to sell different, the journey now is different.

Gloria Gunn  14:41
Yeah, that’s so true. It is. And you know, you bring up a really good point because what happens, right? I think a lot of times and we talked about this in a previous episode, where there’s just so much information, everything’s busy, it’s overloaded. And so a lot of times what happens is we, the information gets to be too much, we can’t handle it. And we go to more primal, you know, Primal ways of dealing with it, or just ways that we’re programmed to deal with it. And so if you don’t answer those as well, if you try to give too much information and kind of like information overload, that’s not going to be good, either. So let’s go, let’s talk about the steps. And then we can, you know, unpack them a little bit.  

Gloria Gunn  15:26
So step one of the buyer’s journey is where they recognize they have a problem. And they’re looking to see what others are doing or saying that have the same problem as I have, right. And so this is where that authority and social proof really works here. Because of that trust, you can establish trust.
And step two is, they’ve kind of they know what others are doing to fix it. And now I need to find out what is best for my business. I know I kind of I’ve gotten my arms around the problem, I know what other people are doing to fix it and make it better for them. Now, what I need to do in step two is find the solution that’s going to work best with my business, all of my nuances, all of my special needs. You notice that they’re thinking Me, me, not me and Ed, and you know, and at this point, you know, it’s not about us. So if we go in there talking about how great we are, and how wonderful we are, they really don’t care about that, because they’re looking at what they need to do to fix it for their business? What’s the best fix, right?
And so in Step three, they’re at the point emotionally and psychologically and mentally thinking, Okay, I think I figured out the best way to fix it, I’ve done my research, I’ve done my homework, I’ve seen what other businesses similar to mine are doing. I’ve seen, you know, social proof, I think I know what the best way is, now what I need to do is just settle on the best solution, who’s going to be the best vendor for me, what’s going to be the best level of service, you know, all of that? That is where you kind of get into, you know, the demo and presentation time is whenever they’ve settled on, you know, they’re that deep into the buyer’s journey, right? Like, if you’re doing demos, when they’re just really they know they have a problem, but they’re not sure, you’re going to be doing a lot of follow up with them, basically, because they’re not there mentally. And so there’s a mismatch in the information you’re giving them to the information, you know, that they really need.
And so step four is, okay, I found the best solution. Now, it’s about terms, next steps, you know, lets you know, pricing, all that type of stuff. And that’s really the psychological four step problem, I have a problem. And then I know what others are doing. This is the best way to fix step three. And then step four, I found the best solution. And we will put these in the show notes, basically. So this is what’s going on with them.

Ed Golod  17:55
Yeah, it’s, it sounds like stuff that’s been around a really long time. And again, I’m repeating myself, but I’m not losing my marbles. This type of buyer’s journey has not changed for decades, except, except it’s been hyper accelerated, hyper compressed, demands hyper trust, and has virtually so little time for sellers to sell. It’s almost like training for a marathon. And the coach says normally, Ed , you’re going to need a year to train. But I’m going to give you two weeks. And that’s sort of why this is so important, is we have to get back to fundamentals and understand the journey and maybe next year the journey of change again, Gloria, and maybe they’ll be a spin on it. We have to be on the edge and be dynamic, because things are moving rather crazy.

Gloria Gunn  18:53
Yeah, yeah. There you have it. It is so true. And with so much information at their fingertips.

Ed Golod  19:01
Right, information overload. Crazy.

Gloria Gunn  19:02
Exactly. They can find out anything they want to you know, they they they’re they’re very our buyers are very good researchers. And, and really, you know, our best prospects are smart. You know, they’re checking out everything validating getting their gut feel as best as they can, aren’t they Ed?

Ed Golod  19:21
Yeah, they are. You know, I had a really interesting call with a nice fella from London, a smart, smart company. They do AI and really interesting business intelligence. And he was talking about his product and explaining it to me. And at one point, I turned to him on the zoom and said, you know, if I was in a conference room with you right now having some tea, and you saw my face, you would say hey, you seem to know this. So let me interrupt you and tell you I know what you’re talking about. I know your technology. I know your market. I know your customers. Tell me what really is the issue.
And he said to me, it’s a little hard because I’m on this microphone and camera. And I’m trying to have this connection with you, and his noise in the background. And I said, you know, you’re right. It’s really. It’s really crazy. And at one point, we had to turn the camera off, and just have a conversation. So is that in the buyer’s journey, page four, in the Harvard Business Review? No, it’s not. But that’s what’s happening. It’s why I love these four steps.

Gloria Gunn  20:34
Yeah, yeah. And, you know, you bring up a great point, because what we need to do as solution providers, is we really need to be able to recognize that and then be able to adjust our discussions to make sure that number one, we’re always meeting the needs of our prospect, right? We’re giving value and all that stuff, positioning ourselves with authority, all of that we kind of, there’s this juggle that we have to do.
And you have a situation again, where everybody’s on information overload, you have to make sure that you’ve got the, the attention to where you’re not going to just get, you know, the old glop eyes glazed type of situation, you know, and really, they’re, they’re gathering all this information to answer the one true question that they care about. All right, and this is, you know, this question, but I’m going to say it.

Ed Golod  21:29
Yeah, well, if you trick me, and I get it wrong, they’d be laughing at me now.

Gloria Gunn  21:33
I know. That’s why I refuse to put you on the spot. Okay. All right. I will not do that.

Ed Golod  21:38
Let me close my eyes and listen, because I know this question, but go ahead.

Gloria Gunn  21:41
Yeah. So really, the question that they care about is which solution is going to add value to my business the best? What’s going to be the best solution? And that all includes, you know, do I trust the vendor? What’s going to be best for my business? What’s going to take care of my problem? Do I trust the vendor? Do I believe that they’re the best solution? And can they get the job done with the least amount of pain to my organization to me and my organization? That’s really what they want. In a nutshell. That’s all they care about, right?

Ed Golod  22:10
You’re right. It’s the old , what’s in it for me? 

Gloria Gunn  22:12
Exactly. 

Ed Golod  22:13
Going back to that conversation with that nice person, that nice fella in London. He said to me, at one point, he said, I understand what you’re, what you have Ed, I understand about thought leadership, and I’m ready for it. I’m just wrestling with this issue. And he opened up and he told me the issue. And we had a conversation about it. And he was relieved. And things went better in his journey. Again, that’s not on page 13 paragraph two.
So you’re right, they’re thinking about what’s in it for me. Except what they used to do with a cup of coffee in a conference room and 10 people, now they’re doing it at 60 miles an hour on the highway on an easy chair, which is where their mind is because they’re so distracted. The noise out there, you know that there are 660 million people on LinkedIn, and four out of five of them make decisions. And then there’s a zillion vendors putting noise out about buy from me? It’s almost like a tsunami environment. So yeah, they’re just saying, Hey, what’s in it for me? Just talk to me, let me get trust, and tell me, how can you help me? Basic 101 selling?

Gloria Gunn  23:30
Yep, yep, yep. But you got to make sure that you’re at the right time. And, you know, if you catch them at the beginning of their journey and answer their questions for them, as they’re doing this, you know, research and figuring it out for themselves or kind of this, this helpful research assistant, right, your information is served up for that to them, they understand, they read, they know, they see, they hear whatever, you’re going to be much better positioned as their vendor or solution provider. And that’s really the end of the story. And so, look, here’s my two cents on this. And I think you know, here’s, you want to hear truth bomb Ed, can I give a truth?

Ed Golod  24:11
Well, I’d rather have you tell me the truth than lie to me.

Gloria Gunn  24:13
Then a lie bomb? 

Ed Golod  24:14
That’s right.

Gloria Gunn  24:15
Do you rather have a truth bomb or a lie bomb? Yeah, yeah. So here’s the deal. Most leads that we get are not educated or qualified right out of the gate. You know, they might have a little bit of interest or you know, a little bit of curiosity or whatever. And we know that our best prospects are researching to find out the answers, right? And so if you’re in a situation where you sell to, like, say midsize businesses, you are and you have the complexity of these buying groups are buying committees, then you have to kind of add on extra layers and you have to make sure you’re educating them on what meets their needs. All right, so you’ve got Different people looking at solutions with different perspectives. And you have to be able to build trust and educate on all those different levels as well. It gets deep.

Ed Golod  25:10
It does, it does. So again, getting back to basics. What’s interesting about this call, we’re having this podcast today, is just understanding the fundamentals. And if you write down what the buyer’s journey is on each sales call, and you beat them, I think that’s a 50% improvement on what you’re normally doing, because you’re where they’re close. and you know, you try to live their life instead of let’s get on to the demo, show my software, etc.

Gloria Gunn  25:39
Yeah, yeah, such a good point really, really good. This has been a great conversation, we got a little more ways to go. Because in this segment, I think we both like to look at these interesting kinds of things that are going on in the tech space.
And I’ve got a really good one for you. And it’s, it’s called the title of it. And again, it’s from ZDNET, and the title of it is, “The Pandemic is a Watershed Moment for Digital Transformation and Customer Service”.

Ed Golod  26:10
That sounds like a good one.

Gloria Gunn  26:11
Yeah, fascinating, because what they’re saying is that you’re, you know, their service channels have been flooded by anxious customers, and what that what the customers are, you know, the anxiety that they’re feeling, because of the world events, it’s reflecting in these kinds of customer service calls, right. And so what was interesting to me, was that how the pandemic has accelerated the transformation of these customer service centers, from cost centers to they’re actually true strategic assets. Okay, and so these agents are called on to act as these advisors to customers that have these complex issues. So it’s not just this customer service situation, you know, where it’s, it’s a very simple, you know, like a mindless situation.

Ed Golod  27:03

Right.

Gloria Gunn  27:04

But these customer service reps have to be a little more advanced or more strategic. And by doing that, it’s changing how we view customer service. It’s almost like it’s an extension of the sale, you know, you got to kind of keep them happy and stuff. And, I mean, I do business like at BFA, I shouldn’t, I should have said their name. But you know, if you literally seriously, if you want to know, like customer service, what customer service needs help in making, you know, kind of, to where they do a better job than to go to be a VA and try to dial into their customer service number, if you’ve got to speak to your, your personal banking attendant or whatever, it’s a nightmare, right? 

And so businesses are realizing that they’ve got to change. And then by changing, they’re actually making their customer service centers more of an asset. You know, you’re having more loyal customers, you know, that old everything, right? Anyway, it was fascinating because the pandemic is really accelerating that. And so, if you’re a leader of a business, and you have a lot of expertise and insight in your field or industry, and if you know that if you were just able to, you know, kind of pre educate those folks that could benefit from your technical solution. And again, I’m not talking about pitching, but I’m talking about educating, then reaching out to us on LinkedIn, reaching out to us on technical thought leader or just sending us an email on ed@technicalthoughtleader.com or gloria@technicalthoughtleader.com. Love to hear from you.

Ed Golod  28:40
Yeah, we’re here and we’re 24 seven, so don’t be shy.

Gloria Gunn  28:45
Ed’s a beast, by the way.

Ed Golod  28:49
I am. I’m a small guy but I am a beast by the way.

Gloria Gunn  28:51
Yeah, no. 

Ed Golod  28:52
Thank you for that compliment.

Gloria Gunn  28:53
Yeah, nice guy. So that’s it, folks, you know, we are out of time. And it is my hope. Ed is it your hope? Or is it not your hope? 

Ed Golod  29:02
No, no, it’s my hope that people learn stuff and they get better and they break out. It’s my hope they break out Gloria. Breakout from what they’re doing to something maybe a little bit better you learn on these calls.

Gloria Gunn  29:15
Exactly. You know, we both hope that you learn something on this podcast, maybe you got a little bit smarter on the best way for you to educate and inform your target audience, your prospects so that they gravitate to your solution and look to you as the source that makes their business pain go away. So reach out to us on LinkedIn. Ask us anything. We’re here to help and add value to you. So Till next time, Gloria.

Ed Golod  29:42
And Ed.

Gloria Gunn  29:44
Here, over and out.

Ed Golod  29:46
See ya!

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