How well do you know your online buyers? Probably not as well as they know you.

Today’s buyers are spending more time online researching you and your competitors before reaching out, according to a survey by Zogby and Velocify. And when they do finally call or fill out an online form asking for more information, expectations are high. Anything you say or do, or don’t do for that matter, could put your company on the chopping block.

To help you stand out in world where the stakes are high and the quality bar is even higher, here are a 10 hints on what today’s online buyers expect from you:

  1. Buyers are researching more, and using mobile devices – 62% of business buyers and 38% of personal buyers spend three or more hours researching a purchase before reaching out to sales, according to the online buyer expectation study. In addition to desktop and laptop computers, much of the buyers’ research is being conducted on smartphones and tablets.Business buyers especially, are significantly more likely than consumers to perform a higher percentage of their research using a mobile device. Make sure your website makes a great first impression with easy to find information and mobile optimization.
  2. Buyers expect a response – Not receiving a response to an inquiry was by far the most common theme among buyers describing their worst experience, surprisingly beating out bad customer service/rudeness by a significant margin. Bad customer service/rudeness was followed closely by slow response and spamming.And don’t be surprised, but most businesses don’t receive a fast response. Overall, more than half of all respondents indicated they have experienced submitting an online inquiry form for which they expected a response and never received one. The likelihood of no response was even greater for business buyers, with 70% of respondents indicating they’ve experienced this.
  3. Buyers want a fast response – Buyers expect a prompt response from sales and if they don’t get it they don’t buy from you. In fact, 57% of buyers say their purchase decision was impacted by a slow response.

How slow is too slow? Anything more than 24 hours is considered too long for most buyers. More than 60% of buyers said they would begin to question a company’s attentiveness to their customers if they did not hear back from the company within 24 hours after submitting an online form.

Fast to respond has an advantage. Buyers indicate a fast response can be advantageous when it comes to winning their business. Overall, 64% of buyers believed that the first company to call them had an advantage over others.

  1. Buyers like to shop around – 94% of buyers inquire 2 or more companies when making an online purchasing decision. This means it is even more critical to pay attention to buyer signals and respond accordingly.
  2. Buyers appreciate a multi-channel contact strategy – Buyers also indicated that they generally preferred to be contacted and sent information via multiple forms of communication throughout the sales process. The majority of respondents prefer to be contacted through either a combination of phone and email, the most popular option, or through a combination of phone, email, and text.
  3. Most buyers want you to try calling them multiple times – When it comes to a company’s persistence in trying to reach a buyer, most respondents suggested they would like multiple calls before a company gives up trying to reach them. Three quarters of all buyers said they would like two to four calls, but a sizeable percentage (12%) even suggested they would like as many calls as it takes to get a hold of them.
  4. If you don’t succeed with phone, try email, buyers prefer you do – 83% of buyers would like companies to send them 1-4 emails in a 30-day period in an effort to make contact when they haven’t been successful via phone.
  5. Personalization is critical – Walking into your favorite restaurant where the waiter greets you by name and asks if you’ll have “your usual order,” makes you feel right at home. In fact, even if the chef messes up your order, you’ll come back, because the friendly service and personalization make up for a mistake now and again.

In a world of over automation, good customer service goes a long way in setting you apart. In fact 55% of consumers would pay more for a better customer experience, according to a study by Defaqto Research.

Don’t worry about spending hours researching each prospect, implement the 3X3 approach developed by VorsightBP. Simply find three facts about your prospect in three minutes that you will actually use in your call.

  1. Most buyers are open to receiving text messages – 71% of business buyers were open to receiving text messages. Some of the reasons and instances that respondents indicated would constitute good reasons for texts included:

– After initial conversation, if continued interest is expressed
– When calls haven’t been successful
– As reminders of deadlines or appointments
– To quickly confirm something
– Special promotions or offers

  1. Even after contact is made, promptness is important – After initial contact has been made, response speed for subsequent interactions is still important, but for some, it may not be as important as being able to communicate with the same salesperson. Slightly more than half of all respondents valued response speed over being able to talk to the same salesperson when expecting a callback.

Online buyers – both business and consumer – have a lot of money to spend and they are becoming savvier about where they spend it. If your response strategy and content don’t inspire confidence, they will simply take their money elsewhere.

Put your sales organization to the text, download the full study and see how your sales practices compare to online buyer expectations.

Matt Reid_VP of Marketing


Today’s post was written by Matt Reid, VP of Marketing for Velocify, a leading sales acceleration company.