Showing posts with label decision. Show all posts
Showing posts with label decision. Show all posts

Buying Cycle – Moving to Decision and Purchase

Continuing the review of the customer buying cycle, this post explores the Decision and Purchase steps in the B2B customer buying process.

In the Decision step, the buyer evaluates the short list of potential solutions to determine which one to buy. The evaluation process usually includes a number of requirements for each potential vendor to qualify the suitability of their solution. Although not explicitly listed in the evaluation criteria, trust plays a major role during this decision process – whether the prospective buyer trusts the vendor company, product, salesperson and others they have met, to deliver what they want. Trust and credibility should have been developed by sales and marketing prior to this step and reinforced during the decision process.
B2B Buying Cycle
Sales should be in control of all interactions with the prospective buyer at this stage and Marketing should support sales as needed:

  • Remove the prospect from the regular outbound marketing process – coordinate specific marketing activity with sales to support the decision process
  • Ensure that any inbound marketing processes are aware of the prospective buyer’s status should anything for that company come in
  • Support sales with competitive intelligence, win/loss analysis, landmines to set and competitor landmine responses for the short list contenders
  • Customer references are usually requested at this stage – proactively managing the references engagement process is critical to ensure a favorable review.
The prospective buyer could decide not to proceed with any purchase for a variety of reasons.

If the buyer does select your product/service/solution, the next step is to proceed with the Purchase step. Sales are in control of the purchase process and marketing should only engage with the prospective buyer as directed by sales. Although marketing are usually not directly involved with the purchase process, there are previous decisions from marketing and product management that significantly influence the purchase decision:
  • Packaging – how the product/service/solution is packaged, sold/licensed, various buyer options, terms, conditions, etc.
  • Pricing – how the product/service/solution is priced and current pricing.
Ensure that sales were previously trained on all aspects packaging, pricing and what aspects are negotiable or not. Getting feedback from sales and customers on any pros and cons of packaging and pricing should be part of your continuous improvement process to be responsive to changing market conditions and customer expectations.

Regardless of the outcome from the decision and purchase steps, be sure to collect win/loss data for learning, analysis and future use.

The next post looks at the Implementing and Implemented steps in the post-purchase phase of the customer buying cycle.

Your comments are always welcome.
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