My view is that too many “opportunities” ultimately end with buyers making no decision. This is an unfortunate outcome for all vendors that were involved but also represents a waste of time, effort and resources for companies doing evaluations.
One of the major reasons for no decisions is a lack of adequate payback/value. I believe many sellers would struggle to help create an enterprise view of potential value.
Buying cycles that will become committee decisions are far more complex for sellers to execute. It is important that there be some identified benefit for each major stakeholder if a purchase is going to be made.
CCS® helps clients identify the titles that are likely to be involved if a seller is going to sell, fund and implement offerings. These stakeholders have different objectives and business outcomes they hope to achieve in making purchase decisions.
Many sellers are unable to gain access to all the stakeholders by:
- Starting with levels in the organization whose interest is primarily in offerings rather than business outcomes.
- Asking lower levels for access to other titles. There are 3 ways of gaining access to stakeholders listed here in decreasing degree of probability of being successful:
- Ask for access to higher levels (typical in bottom-up sales approaches)/
- Ask for access laterally (to peers of the initial contact)
- Ask for access downward to people lower in the organization.
In my experience top-down access has the quickest and highest probability of conducting successful sales/buying cycles.
I say that because decision maker levels will self-qualify. By that I mean if they don’t see adequate potential value they won’t waste their nor their subordinates’ time.
When calling on each Key Player, sellers should have menus of potential business outcomes and uncover as many as possible.
By doing so sellers have the ability to summarize potential value for each person involved in the decision. Often it is necessary to help buyers understand their baseline metrics (where they are without the seller’s offering) and have them project the potential improvement. It is important that the Key Players quantify the results they feel they can achieve.
At some point in the buying cycle it can be a competitive differentiator to have the committee realize the total potential value of moving forward with a seller’s recommendation. This approach can neutralize what may be a seller’s most formidable competitor: No decision.
By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling®