As sales people, our focus is to convince the customer to buy our solution. We invest our time in understanding what they are trying to do, our competition, their decision-making process, and presenting a winning proposal. We try to align ourselves with their buying process, but focus on the part where they are deciding what to buy.
Often, that’s the easiest part and the smallest part of their buying process.
There’s actually so much more they have to go through. Most of it, if we don’t look for it, is invisible to us. Identifying the problem or opportunity, identifying and aligning all the players in addressing that problem or opportunity, aligning their different agendas and interests, gaining management support, defining the problem, defining the needs and requirements, assessing alternatives, selecting an alternative, selling the recommended solution to management, moving through purchasing and contracting into implementation.
All this and doing their day job, as well.
When you think about it, buying is really tough!
With very complex solutions, it becomes even tougher. Think about it, in a typical CFO’s career, how many times has she made a decision for a new financial system? In a sales execs career, a CRM system, a CMO with marketing automation, and so on. So overlaid onto an already difficult buying process is the fact they don’t know how to buy because they have so little experience in buying.
It’s no wonder that so many buying decisions end with No Decision Made. It’s no wonder that buyers get frustrated with sales people, however politely, are pushing for an order.
From a sales point of view, when you look at all that’s involved, we are only participating in a very small part of their work effort.
What would happen, if we participated in more of their buying process? What would happen if we helped them in managing the process and in helping them learn how to buy?
We want to be easy to buy from–but that’s only once a decision has been made. What if we extended that and helped make it easier for them to buy–that is navigate the whole buying process?
We know we can create value with when the customer is deciding to buy. We are expert as that, as our competition may be. The value we create by engaging the customer through their entire process is magnified tremendously.
So realize deciding what to buy is the easiest part of buying, help your customer with the tough parts!