Guided Selling, Explained

Published on: May 2017

Written by: Andrew Dornon

Should I care about guided selling?

If you have more unqualified leads than you know what to do with OR your product is customized and complex with a really long sales cycle then, yes, probably.

What, what is it again?

If you haven’t heard of guided selling, you’ve probably seen it. Guided selling is a series of questions that pop up on a website to help you (and the vendor) get you the right information and solution before actually having to engage with a salesperson.

Guided selling has been used pretty widely in B2C environments, but I see it as an increasingly important way to improve B2B customer experience because let’s face it, the way people want to buy is changing. Increasingly, if there’s a way to input your technology stack and get advice on add-on solutions or whether a certain vendor is right for you, many prospects will want that route.

Guided selling also generates a ton of value for a sales org because it allows prospects to (dis)qualify themselves before using any rep time and when they do engage, reps already have insight into customer needs. Guided selling is sometimes confused with Configure-Price-Quote tools, which are essentially internal-facing versions of guided selling.

So how do I do it?

If you’re looking for technology vendors there are a number that can help out like Smart Assistant (pictured above). But that’s the easy part. The hard part is translating your typical qualification and discovery process into a set of questions and a decision tree that accomplishes both an easy, informative and inspiring customer experience AND actually does the work of qualifying (without alienating) and generating the insights you need.

Some guidance for improving your guided selling process:

  • Overly humanize the language of your questions and potential responses. Even if this doesn’t exactly fit your brand, prospects will feel much better about interacting with an automated questioner if it sounds like a person.
    • Example: How large is your company?
      • Solopreneur and proud.
      • We’re a small startup—making big waves.
      • A mid-sized firm, with outsized ambition.
      • I don’t mean to brag, but you’ve probably heard of us.
  • Give disqualified prospects detailed information and advice on steps to take that align with why they were disqualified.
  • Focus discovery questions on the results the prospect is looking to achieve, rather than pain points.
  • If there are ecosystem questions, make them quick and painless if you target line of business buyers. If your buyers are technical, dig into those details.
  • Qualified prospects should hit their solution landing page and get a (reasonably unobtrusive pop up) that gives them the option to get a call (ideally instantly) or have someone email them.

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