Guided selling technology: what is it, how it works, and how using it can improve your sales efforts

by Matan Mostov
September 23, 2023
Demo Skills
Sales Management
Guided Selling
Demo Best Practices
Sales Effectiveness
Sales Execution
Sales Productivity
Sales Performance
Sales Enablement Best Practices
Discovery Best Practices

In B2B market environments, guided selling means tech solutions that help sellers sell more efficiently and effectively by providing custom recommendations on the best content, playbooks, and tactics for every sales scenario. Here’s a more detailed look into what guided selling is, how it works, and how to successfully utilize it with the right techniques and technology. 

Guided selling technology: what is it, how it works, and how using it can improve your sales efforts

Guided selling is a sales practice that can be used for both B2B and B2C sales and across most selling types: brick-and-mortar, eCommerce, retail, etc.

But what is guided selling technology exactly?

Initially, guided selling was used to describe online eCommerce solutions that guided buyers through the buying process to allow them to find the products and services that best suit their needs without the help of a sales rep. 

Over time, this methodology evolved, and today, in B2B market environments, guided selling technology means tech solutions that help sellers sell more efficiently and effectively by providing custom recommendations on the best content, playbooks, and tactics for every sales scenario. 

Here’s a more detailed look into what guided selling is, how it works, and how to successfully utilize it with the right techniques and technology. 

How Guided Selling Works In A B2B Environment

We all know how saturated the markets are, how many similar and competing products are out there, and the huge amounts of information available to buyers. All this means that often, buyers end up choosing products that don’t optimally meet their needs. 

This is what guided selling solves. 

Quality guided selling tech in B2B environments uses AI to turn data into insights and machine learning algorithms to provide recommendations based on data, guiding the sales reps through a more efficient and effective sales process.

A good guided selling platform captures and analyzes the constantly updated sales data to provide highly valuable recommendations on the best content and action in any given sales situation. 

In B2C environments, a good guided selling system can minimize the time and resources the buyer must invest before they buy your product or service. 

Using tech that is similar to the B2B guided selling tools, buyers can interact with real-life consultants who provide tailored product or service recommendations that suit their needs. Such recommendations can only be accurate if the sales rep who serves as the consultant knows exactly what to ask, using a ready-made list of questions that uncovers the buyer's pain points and precise needs. This requires analysis of current and past buyer behavior and data. 

B2B Guided Selling VS Sales Enablement

As we mentioned, guided selling is a methodology that spans a wide range of processes and tools for the purpose of helping sales reps interact with buyers more efficiently and effectively. In other words, it’s a highly useful tool that makes it easier for sellers to sell and for buyers to buy.

Usually, guided selling is implemented as a software that helps sales reps move through the sales cycle with fewer mistakes and faster outcomes. 

Sounds a bit like sales enablement? Well, although both focus on improving the effectiveness and efficiency of salespeople, the two methodologies are intrinsically different. 

Sales enablement is a broader concept that’s all about providing the framework that improves sellers' performance with the right training, content, tools, processes, and guided selling. As a component of sales enablement, guided selling provides sales reps with recommendations on specific information, content, and action to help them make better decisions and engage buyers more effectively. 

It also helps speed up the selling process.

The importance of real-time guidance

Real-time guidance is a powerful tool that can help sales reps close more deals. It does this by providing reps with the information they need, when they need it, to make the best possible decisions.

Real-time AI-guided selling means that sellers can receive guidance during the sales call and help them run successful live demos, as well as qualification and discovery calls.

For example, advanced guided selling softwares can help you turn tried and tested winning plays into a real-time smart assistant that helps sellers deliver highly effective demos every time.

In addition, such guided selling tools automate workflows. These workflows can be used to automate tasks, such as sending follow-up emails or scheduling meetings. This can free up reps' time so they can focus on closing deals.

Real-time guidance can be used to improve sales in a number of ways, including:

  • Increased efficiency: By providing reps with the information they need, when they need it, real-time guidance can help them close deals more quickly.
  • Reduced errors: By providing reps with accurate information during a guided sale demo, real-time guidance can help them avoid making mistakes.
  • Improved customer satisfaction: By providing a more personalized and responsive experience, real-time guidance can help improve customer satisfaction.
  • Increased productivity: Real-time guidance can help reps save time by providing them with the information they need, when they need it. This can free up reps to focus on more important tasks, such as closing deals.
  • Improved accuracy: Real-time guidance can help reps avoid making mistakes by providing them with accurate information. This can help improve the overall quality of your sales process.
  • Enhanced customer experience: Real-time guidance can help you provide a more personalized and responsive customer experience. This can help you build stronger relationships with your customers and improve customer satisfaction.

Key Benefits Of B2B Guided Selling

The benefits of guided selling are tremendous. Here are 3 key issues guided selling helps solve.

1. Increased complexities

Sellers today deal with B2B buyers who are savvier than ever and have more complex business needs and issues. 

Seeing as in today's world, the buyers are in control of the buying process and meet the sellers after they’ve already done quite a bit of research, sales reps face unique challenges such as longer and more complex sales cycles and ever changing buyer needs and expectations. 

2. Not enough time

While the complexities increase, the time sales teams have to sell has decreased. According to Forbes, an average salesperson spends only a third of their time on selling tasks, so when they do actually sell, sellers need to be as effective as possible. 

3. Confusing amounts of sales content

The marketing departments create high volumes of content. If the sales reps can’t easily access the highest-performing content types, chances are they won’t be able to interact with the prospects successfully. 

4. Valuable source of data for decision-makers 

One of the best guided selling examples is that it can also serve as a valuable source of decision-making data, particularly in B2B purchasing and when dealing with highly complex or technical products. 

Sellers can provide buyers with comprehensive information about their products to help them find the perfect fit, such as ROI calculators, customer stories, and buying process presentations, to name a few. 

By offering such details, sellers empower buyers with the confidence to make informed and sound decisions.

What To Look For In Your Guided Selling Software

Your guided selling platform should allow sellers to interact effectively with prospects in any sales situation and be dynamic so that they can adapt to any change in any given sales situation. 

When you choose your platform, consider the following capabilities.

1. Playbooks that maintain consistency and improve performance

An effective guided selling technology will allow your sellers easy access to your top-performing playbooks whenever they need them - playbooks they should be able to follow easily.

Automated playbooks support consistent sales performance in real-time while the seller is on the call. 

Also, guided selling software that offers the ability to implement new messaging helps sales teams to respond in real-time and instantly to new playbooks. 

2. Relevant content

Since guided selling software automatically provides sellers with real-time recommendations on the relevant sales content in every scenario, it saves sellers a lot of research time and eventually helps them hit their targets and their sales effectiveness KPIs faster. 

In addition, guided selling tools can also continuously track which top-performing content was used at which stage of the selling process. Understanding this allows sellers to improve constantly. 

3. Sync with CRM

With the right tech, sellers can take notes from discovery and demo calls and sync them to the CRM immediately. This way, taking notes and viewing them in the right context is easy and streamlined. At the same time, enablement and sales managers can measure new demo metrics in a way they weren’t able to before and attach them to success, allowing them to track sales effectiveness better.

4. Easily view demo library and stats

Some guided selling tech acts as a library of winning demos, allowing every seller to train and deliver winning discovery calls. This way, sellers of any tenure and ability, including new hires, can increase their sales effectiveness - whether 

In addition, look for tools with a dashboard that allows sellers and managers to get a clear view of all of the demo stats, including previous demos, because that makes it easier to understand what was shown to who and when, and avoids missteps and confusion.

Guided Selling Best Practices

Guided selling is a powerful tool that can help sales reps close more deals. But, in order to be effective, it must be done right and turned into a proper guided selling process. 

Here are the key elements of effective guided selling that are best implemented as guided selling best practices.

  1. Map the buyer's journey. The first step to effective guided selling is understanding the buyer's journey. What are the different stages that buyers go through as they make a purchase decision? What are their needs and challenges at each stage? 

Once you understand the buyer's journey, you can tailor your sales process to meet their needs.

  1. Create your sales process. The next step is to create a clear sales process. This process should outline the steps that sales reps need to take to move buyers through the sales funnel. 

The sales process should be based on the buyer's journey and should be designed to help reps address the buyer's needs at each stage.

  1. Provide relevant content. Buyers want to be informed, so it's important to provide them with relevant content at each stage of the sales process. This content can include white papers, case studies, blog posts, and other resources that help buyers learn more about your product or service.
  2. Engage buyers. Buyers are more likely to buy from sellers who engage them in a meaningful way. This means asking questions, listening to their needs, and providing them with helpful, trustworthy information. 

In fact, according to SalesForce’s 2nd edition of State of the Connected Customer report for 84% of business buyers, trust is a critical factor in choosing vendors.

By the way, asking good questions is one of the best ways to engage buyers and learn more about their needs. The right questions can help you identify the buyer's pain points, understand their buying criteria and build rapport.

  1. Engage decision-makers. In today's complex sales environment, it's important to identify all the decision-makers involved in the buying process and build relationships with each of them. By doing so, you can increase your chances of winning the deal.
  2. Use data to guide your decisions. Guided selling should be based on data. This means tracking buyer behavior, analyzing sales results, and using this information to improve your sales process.
  3. Be flexible. The buyer's journey is not always linear. Buyers may skip steps or go back to previous stages. Be prepared to adapt your sales process to meet the buyer's needs.
  4. Train your sales team. Your sales team needs to be trained on how to use guided selling effectively. This training should cover the buyer's journey, the sales process, and how to use the guided selling tools. 

In addition, when you use your enablement platform to train your sellers, you essentially kill two birds with one stone: firstly, the right enablement platform will improve your training levels and make them much more effective. Secondly, this practice will allow new sellers to use your enablement tools right from the get-go, saving you and them a lot of time. 

And just to clarify: we love birds and would never ever condone killing them! 

Training is an integral part of sales enablement, and by training, we mean both onboarding new sellers and regularly coaching experienced sellers to help them be more effective. Any guided selling efforts will not provide the desired results without good quality training.

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