Compressing Our Customer’s Buying Process
I read a post about influencing and accelerating our customers’ buying decisions. The author thought trying to accelerate or “move in” the buying decision was wrong.
I don’t disagree–usually, our motives for trying to do this is getting an order and making out numbers. Toward the end of a month or quarter, managers seem to always focus on, “What can we move in?”
Often, we provide “incentives,” to accelerate a customers decision, usually those are some form of discount (Ironically, we are training our customers on behaviors that get the discounts. If I were a customer, out of principle, I would wait until the end of quarters and possibly “slip” the decision only to get the discount.”
Inevitably, our push to accelerate the customer decision making process, bringing in the order is self serving and creates no value for the customer.
Having said that, I think there is a powerful argument for compressing the customer buying process and helping accelerate their buying decision. A side benefit of this is getting the PO sooner.
But the real reason is to accelerate the value the customer gets from the implementation of the solution.
The only reason a customer is buying is to solve a problem or address an opportunity. The longer it takes, the more they defer making a decision, the longer it takes for them to realize the results they hope to achieve. This results in lost opportunity. It could be lost revenues, deferred cost savings, lost growth opportunity, loss of share/customers.
Whatever it is, there is a “cost” to not making a decision and implementing a solution as aggressively as possible.
Too often, our customers may get lost in their buying process, not realizing these costs or losses resulting from not making a decision. They may get caught up in “buying,” becoming distracted by the buying process, forgetting why they are buying in the first place.
Or we know our customers struggle to buy, they wander through the buying process, bouncing back and forth, changing their minds, getting lost. They simply don’t know how to buy, as a result their buying process becomes longer and longer. Or the ultimate tragedy for the customer–over 50% of these buying journeys end in no decision made.
Our obligation is to help the customers achieve their goals. We need to help them navigate their buying journey, we need to help them recognize why they are buying and the implications of slowing that buying decision–or not making a buying decision.
When we make consequences of slips in buying decisions about the customer, we are creating value for them. When we make it about ourselves, we are acting selfishly.