How to Adopt Next-Gen Guided Selling for B2B Commerce

March 5, 2024

Imagine shopping online for light bulbs for an industrial space. You search and return several options. They all look the same, but the product specs outline the differences. You add the brightest bulb to your cart.

But what if you knew exactly how your particular space could look illuminated by different bulbs?

What if the sales process felt like an experience, where your specific problem felt instantly solved?

Move over intuition-based selling and make space for product configuration software. According to Gartner, 75% of B2B sales organizations will augment traditional sales playbooks with AI-guided selling solutions and cpq strategies by 2025. According to us? With next-gen B2B commerce experiences, a rules engine, and a CPQ strategy, guided selling can be easily implemented to close more deals faster.

Guided selling: what is it, why is it important, and how can it be implemented? In this how-to post, Zaelab will explain it all:

  • What is guided selling and how does it work?
  • Why is guided selling important to B2B buyers?
  • Why is B2B commerce search not enough and what is the benefit of product configuration software?
  • What are the benefits of guided selling and CPQ strategies?
  • What B2B guided selling solutions are best-of-breed?

What is Guided Selling?

B2B organizations are no stranger to complex sales: intricate products and services, longer sales cycles, niche business pain points, and several stakeholders involved in the sales cycle. For decades, in order to manage complex sales, most B2B companies have exercised solution selling. Here, the salesperson holistically understands prospects’ business problems in order to recommend the services and products that best meet needs. Digitally, B2B organizations have mapped out expected and desired user journeys, complemented by photography and copy, to frame solutions and assist the selling process.

Guided selling is next-generation solution selling. Instead of relying on subjective research, intuition, and basic content, sales playbooks have been replaced by an AI selling and cpq strategies. Sales enablement is no longer a marketing-made fact-sheet but instead a technology-based solution that uses data, trends, and enhanced visual capabilities to more effectively address buyer needs, while delivering a hyper-personalized experience.

In essence: guided selling is about leveraging B2B commerce effectively to help buyers find the right product, right now. 

Guided Selling is Key for B2B Buyers and Driving Conversions

B2B buyers require different tools when identifying what products to purchase, and frankly, basic photography is not enough. Let’s go back to that light bulb analogy at the start of this post. A photo of a 10 watt light bulb will look the exact same as a photo of a 100 watt light bulb. The product is the same, but the specifications are remarkably different.

Sure, a technical buyer might be able to distill which bulb will work best for the space. But B2B buyers come in different shapes and sizes, and a business buyer might be buying by application or solution. Light bulb wattage is not the only product nuance: shape, base, lumens, temperature, and CRI are important considerations. What lighting is more effective in an indoor industrial aviation setting versus outdoor docks at a military marine? 

The Zaelab team underscores that B2B search and product configuration software are a pivotal component of discovery and conversion. They can kickstart the B2B buyer journey and lead them down the right sales funnel. But finding the right solution goes much beyond search. B2B buyers need guided selling.

Guided Selling Benefits are Multifold

With many ecommerce experiences, buyers often struggle digitally to effectively manage their own purchase experience. Guided selling is a sales enablement strategy that increases sales productivity using automated and data-driven means. Often a series of questions to match buyers with the right products, guided selling implements dynamic logic to help users discover and convert. The benefits are multifold:

  • Increased sales productivity: Sales reps have endless lists of tasks to find, convert, and nurture buyers. Guided selling gives better visibility into the pipeline, helping sellers become more effective and efficient.
  • Curb choice overload: Guided selling can position only the products or the solutions that best fit an individual user journey. This helps the B2B buyer sift through the site and only experience what’s most relevant to them.
  • Quicker conversions: When buyers better understand exactly what they’re purchasing and how it meets their needs, they are quicker to convert - and to come back to the site again. Salesforce CPQ is particularly effective in facilitating this.
  • Cross sell and upsell: By keeping the experience tailored to the individual buyer and delivering different content at purposeful times, the user stays focused, increasing the likelihood of more sales.

Best-of-Breed B2B Guided Selling Solutions

And, a light bulb goes on: your B2B business wants to implement guided selling. So where to start?

As a salesforce commerce cloud implementation partner, Zaelabs practices that guided selling is seamlessly integrated with your existing or soon-to-be-implemented commerce solution. From there, your guided selling technology should check some key boxes:

  • Solution-based: Instead of selling B2B buyers parts, an effective guided selling platform will offer custom solutions and cpq strategies that fit the exact requirements. 
  • Flexible capabilities: A lot of CPQ platforms have restricted capabilities, and in B2B, these limitations can be challenging to navigate. Your guided selling software should have advanced configurator capabilities that can be completely customized to your business. 
  • Flexible integrations: A flexible architecture, meaning the solution is headless and API-based, allows B2B organizations to power their own custom frontend experience without time-intensive configurations.

At Zaelab, we’ve partnered with because it’s a best-in-breed guided selling solution. boasts one centralized engine to power how a B2B organization’s products and services can be configured and sold across all channels. With its headless and API-first architecture, we’ve found that effectively enables B2B to sell sophisticated product configurations online. 

We’re seeing the shift towards composable commerce in B2B, marking the perfect opportunity for businesses to implement guided selling. Talk to us about how guided selling can help your B2B organization deliver a better user experience and drive higher conversions.

Take the guesswork out of B2B benchmarking.

Get a pulse on the effectiveness of your B2B customer experience. Zaelab offers a complimentary benchmarking service to evaluate your B2B digital experience against direct and industry competitors.

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