The B2B sales cycle may be a complex process with lots of variables and decision-makers but it plays a crucial role in helping you gain life-long advocates of your brand. You can use all the available marketing tools and strategies, but without the underlying framework for these strategies, chances are, you'll fail. You may end up relaying the wrong or incomplete information, or the right message at the wrong time.
The next process in the cognitive marketing cycle after emotional arousal (process C) and rational re-evaluation (process D) is private, then public commitment (process E).
At this point, your prospect has moved from the contemplation stage and is planning to take action. This comes right after showing a general interest, actively seeking information about your company, and exploring their options. The private then public commitment process in the marketing cycle is applicable in conversion 3 (preparation to action). The previous processes mentioned are still applicable at this stage of the decision-making process:
Private, then public commitment helps smooth the gap between stages 3 and 4 by guiding your prospects in their plan to take action.
The plan to take action, and the action
At this stage, your prospect is considering buying from you and is figuring out how the transaction will take place. Your strongest pillar at this stage is your sales behavior. Marketing strategies are still at play, but this is the green light for customer service and support to really to shine. You need to be as clear and concise as possible, making the selling process as seamless as possible. You need to offer safety, reassurance, and comfort in order for your prospect to make a commitment to your company.
Why you need private and public commitment
Your main concern at this point should be gaining your prospects' loyalty, both public and private. Particularly in a B2B sale, private commitment is a crucial step to helping your prospect take the desired action. Private commitment happens when your potential client makes contact with your company and leaves their contact details for you to maybe come up with a quote or projection. Little to no monetary transaction has occurred at this point since it's a private conversation between your company and your prospect.
That said, it's not enough for you to just have a private commitment. You want your prospect to move from private to public commitment. This is when your potential customer takes the quote or projection - or any other results from your private commitment - and presents them to other stakeholders and key decision-makers in their company.
This is a bold show of trust because no one wants to present a dud to their board of directors. Private commitment precedes public commitment because your prospect will have tested and mulled over your solution to make sure that it's exactly what the company needs.
Commitment from your prospects requires reassurance from you. You need to make them feel secure while interacting and transacting with you. Safety will help them commit to larger engagements and a healthy, long-term business relationship. You can do this by getting testimonials from your current long-standing clients and having them vouch for you (but more on that in our next post).
There are some steps you need to take to ensure that your prospects develop this commitment and feel safe as they make contact with your company.Secure communication channels
Your potential customers need to be assured that your interactions will remain confidential and secure. You can do this by setting up end-to-end encrypted communication channels and making sure that all conversations strictly remain between you and your prospect. You need to do whatever it takes to reassure your potential clients of their safety and your confidentiality as they reach out to you.No pressure
Your prospects should be comfortable while making contact with your company. They should know that they can get a recommendation without feeling pressured to make a public commitment or take any other form of action. Your sales team should be able to give your prospect preambulatory answers without pushing them to make a deeper commitment.
In a nutshell, private then public commitment is fostered when your prospect gets an overview of your sales practices. They need to see how you conduct business and how your company is better than other similar brands without trashing your competitors in any way. Answer your prospects' questions and address any concerns they may have from previous negative business experiences with other companies.
Keep them in the loop concerning any changes in your sales behaviors, especially if the changes contradict any previous customer feedback. By making your prospects feel safe and comfortable while interacting with you - guiding rather than coercing or pushing - you'll be able to successfully walk with the clients to the exchange relationship.
They're ready to take action - now what?
Help them get there! Check out our next post on helping relationships to learn more.