Similar to a salesperson, a guided selling solution asks specific questions in order to then show the customer their matching products. In this fashion, potential customers without specialist knowledge, and without the use of human assistance, can find the right product. Read here about the specifics.
Guided selling: software-supported purchasing process
Guided selling is a form of digital sales support that combines the search for products with product advisory. Interested persons are specifically addressed and then supported by the use of software during their purchasing process.
In the B2C segment, the digital customer consultant mainly has the task of limiting the wide range of options and offers to a manageable selection, with the aim to provide decision-making support. In the B2B segment, guided selling mainly serves to support high-level sales talks, which continue to be particularly essential for products and services in need of explanation. Guided selling in this case can be in the form of product videos, product recommendations, customer reviews or product comparisons. What’s more, online product configurators, also called configure price quote (CPQ) systems, are often deployed for guided selling towards business customers.
The most important thing at all times is that the digital support is truly helpful within the purchasing process and that the customer is not faced with questions or tasks that they cannot or do not want to answer. On top of that, the customer should have the feeling that they are being addressed individually and personally, despite the use of software.
How digital sales support works for B2B
Industrial goods can often be customised to meet customers’ needs, down to the slightest detail. A guided selling solution asks the customer, for example on the search for a product in an online shop, interactive questions in order to be able to specify their product requirements. However, the technical expert knowledge needed is not usually available in the sourcing department. Thanks to the answers to the questions, which are frequently posted by a chatbot, the desired product can nevertheless be customised and viewed.
For example: A customer needs a container to transport a machine, but is not clear which requirements the container must meet. Based on questions regarding the size, weight, route and other parameters, the software can pre-design such a transport container. The effect of each individual configuration step is shown visually, so that the customer can gain a picture of what it would look like.
The requirements identified in this way are then forwarded to the sales team. This allows potential leads to be pre-qualified via the software solution, and requests to be sorted out at an early stage that do not match. As a result, guided selling enables B2B companies with high-level products to significantly boost their sales efficiency.
Guided selling: best practice
Here are two real-life examples that show how guided selling is already making an impact in the B2B segment:
Miles & More: This subsidiary of Lufthansa has developed the luggage advisor. It helps customers to find a suitcase in the right size and made with their desired material. Specifications such as the kind of closure or the types of wheels can be customised too. So that the customer can also select from various options even for detailed design wishes, the company integrated a reasoning function. For each product in the hits list, this function shows which characteristics are a match and which are not. If the desired suitcase is not available in the desired colour, for instance, matches in other colours are shown.
FiMAB GmbH & Co. KG:
FiMAB GmbH & Co. KG (German), a company specialising in mechanical engineering and sheet metal production, has developed the online configurator ARMARiO. It allows customers to customise the right control box for them, as standard housings frequently do not meet the requirements of the switching technology. With just a few clicks, the kind of box, its size, material and colour can be entered, and the data is sent directly to the production department where the manufacturing process begins just minutes later. This guided selling solution won the DIMA Award 2021 (German) in the category “Customer experience”.