Staying Aligned With the Buyer’s Journey

 

Misalignment between the buyer’s and sellers’ processes is a major issue for today’s sales professionals. Life has changed for both buyers and sellers due to COVID-19. Many organizations added several steps around the financial impact of a strategic buying decision. In addition, buyers have taken into consideration more risk mitigation steps and inserted a lot more time for due diligence. As a result, buyers are simply more careful and more apprehensive when it comes to making strategic buying decisions.

Decision delay and no decision will continue to cause problems for today’s sales professionals. Unless and until sellers adapt and change their process, there will always be frustration trying to strategize or forecast. For example, the buyer performs four steps at the beginning of the sale: economic impact, buying strategy, evaluate options and alternatives, and determine needs. While at the same time, sellers are either unaware of what is going on or following their standard sales process once they are engaged. These two options do not align with the buyer’s ever-changing process. As a result, the seller is far behind the buyer in the process flow. Later in the sale, the seller jets ahead of the buyer by moving to the proposal too soon. Remember all issues must be resolved to mitigate risk. Prematurely submitting a proposal or Business Case can be a disaster for a seller.

Suggested Read: 3 Ways to Ensure Your Sales Cycle Doesn't Sputter During the Last Mile

Automation in the sales tech stack is the key to bringing alignment between buyers and sellers. Imagine using a discovery wizard to guide your first contact with a buyer. Followed by a series of quantitative questions that drive your value. Imagine the ability to print out documents at every step of your process to align with your buyer. For example, after discovery, your system sends a document to confirm their answers. As you collect information on value, your system continues to send documents that confirm answers.

Alignment is a crucial success factor in most sales methodologies too. Sales professionals must be aware of the buyer’s process and adapt their own process steps to align. Mirror the process when possible. To stay in alignment, be sure you perform discovery, presentation, and proposal stages at the right times in the buyer’s process. Sales tools like ValueCore’s Value Collaborator can ensure this occurs. If you want to change a sales professional’s behavior patterns, implement sales tools and manage to complete each task.

Remember, if you’re ahead or behind the buyer’s process, you will likely either lose the opportunity or be frustrated trying to understand why there is a decision delay. Or worse, no decision is made at all.
Mis-alignment in the sales process is the cause of many missed forecasts. Buyers will change, again and again, emphasizing economic impact and risk mitigation, causing the seller to make more adjustments in their research, discovery, and presentation phases of the sale. As a result, the lines between these phases will blur and may go away altogether.

Finally, sales tools that gather data and provide outstanding visual output throughout the buyer’s journey will ensure you are in alignment.

Suggested Read: Too Many Sales Tools? Here’s How to Find the One That’s Right For You

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