Once upon a time, interpersonal interaction was the key to many successful business strategies. But today, things have changed. People’s first demand isn’t interpersonal interaction—it’s convenience.
According to a study from Acquity Group, 94% of B2B buyers regularly research products and services online before they decide to buy them. Not only do they do their own research, most would prefer not to talk to a sales rep at all. Indeed, 71% said they wanted to do both the researching and the purchasing on their own.
Interestingly, some amended their statement to explain they would be happy to talk to a sales rep “if the need arose”. As it turns out, the desire for independence is especially focused on the early buying stage. The eventual availability of personalized help is nice, but it’s not a must.
This trend in preference toward self-service is rapidly accelerating. Gartner research center estimates that by 2020, 85% of all enterprise customer engagements won’t involve any direct human interaction at all.
Make Your Website Your Absolute Best Salesperson
So what can be done with this information? How do you get your customers through your marketing/sales funnel if they don’t even want to talk to you? The key is to meet them right where they are. You need to make absolute sure that you offer a stellar self-service experience.
If most buyers don’t want to talk with a real-life salesperson, then your website should be your best salesperson. And it should be effortless to navigate and find content. Typically, problems with websites are not about the content, but about the overall experience. If your website was an actual person, would that person be friendly? Professional? Helpful? A positive answer to all of these questions comes down to great self-service.
Not Just Self-Service, Smart Self-Service
You want to empower buyers to find the exact information they need to make a decision, whether that’s a certain type of product or a whitepaper on your company’s security policies. If they can’t get what they need quickly, they won’t keep looking. They’ll simply start researching a competitor instead. A bad self-service experience means losing prospective customers.
The problem is, a lot websites and mobile Apps are clunky at best, and at worst, disastrous. You might be proud of your lengthy FAQ page, or your expansive knowledge base. However, you should also realize that less than 1% of website visitors ever bother with this type of content.
Search is also dicey to navigate on most sites. You’ve probably experienced this yourself while poking around for specialty pricing or puzzling over feature sets. The vast majority of the time, the site’s search function will provide a long list of search results for you to sift through. That is not helpful!
Fortunately, technology has caught up to customer demand. You don’t have to rely anymore on random Q&A that cannot predict your needs. Artificial Intelligence (AI) now powers predictive self-service solutions. AI powered self-service tools are the internet-equivalent of the perfect hotel concierge: it’s intelligent, it provides immediate answers, it knows something about you and what you are looking for.
AnswerDash Takes Self-Service To The Next Level
One of the best AI powered self-service options is AnswerDash. It applies smart technology to the self-service experience. Rather than forcing your potential buyers to leave the page or type to search to find answers, AnswerDash provides instant answers right at the point of need and always in context to the page or personalized to the user.
For example, the AnswerDash predictive Q&A engine is contextual, and changes depending on which page the visitor is actually on. Visitors can also click on any page element (links, images, etc.) to get more information on it. Your customers will never need to visit a help island; instead, a convenient pop-out tab lets them browse the most popular questions that are relevant to that page. The result is a content engagement rate that’s 10x higher than a typical static FAQ. The good news is that a higher content engagement rate drives a 10% to 30% higher lead conversion or sales rate.
In a Recent Forrester Report, B2B marketing analyst Steve Casey confirmed that AI powered self-service software, including AnswerDash, is particularly appealing to this generation of B2B buyers.
If you want to stand out from your competition, you should consider a predictive self-service solution such as AnswerDash. Dealing with the growing distance between buyer and seller can be difficult, but it also represents a myriad of new opportunities and competitive advantages. With a little creativity, and the right self-service software, you can capture more new sales leads every day, even in an era where few buyers wants to talk to a salesperson.