In physics, friction slows movement. You want your race car and pit crew to be well-oiled machines.
In the buying process, uncertainty, unclear objectives and different needs slow the process down. The job of the sales function is to remove unnecessary friction/ resistance between buyer and seller by getting on the buyer’s wavelength.
How do you do this?
1. Make it easy for potential buyers to find your solution.
You can’t solve their problem if they don’t know you’re out there. Beyond being search engines friendly and good marketing campaigns, it is important to be a thought leader in your space to draw interested parties to your site. Once they are on your site, it must be easy to navigate and find the information they need to proceed through their decision making process. Since most buyers explore sites on their own to discover what solutions are out there- before engaging in person-to-person dialogue- this information must be compelling- using videos, testimonials, case studies, ROI calculators, etc. Being engaged in online communities your buyers trust is key to leveraging online word of mouth.
2. Deeply understand their needs.
Most people who are engaging in person-to-person interactions are evaluating options for the best solution. One of the ways you can add value is to clearly understand their needs, which often means having the buyer back up a step from evaluating options to reviewing their needs and objectives. Based on a rich understanding of their needs and objectives, it is appropriate to help them see the importance of some of your value-added capabilities they may not have considered, thus influencing their decision criteria in your favor.
3. Work effectively with all the major players.
In the complex sale, with many people representing different interests within the buying organization, it is imperative to understand the needs of each party and help coordinate the efforts to find a solution that best meets the needs of the overall organization. This usually requires some finesse to identify the key decision makers, gain access and have them feel their interests are being appropriately represented. You must identify informal influencers- that may be missed be just looking at the org chart. You need to understand their objectives and political influence and help them see how you enable them to get what they want. It is imperative to identify those players who oppose your solution and neutralize their influence by working with your sponsors and supporters.
4. Show them how your solution provides the best value for the cost.
Finally, you must help all the buyers see how your solution best meets their needs and fits their decision criteria. Further, you must show how your solution provides the best value- considering all the costs, including the cost to transition to it. In larger deals, the process often culminates in a presentation of the final contenders. An important way to minimize resistance is to meet with each of the key players individually and make sure they see how your solution helps them get what they feel they need to achieve their objectives.
Missing any of these ingredients greatly diminishes your chances of winning. It may cause you to go speeding off the track and watch your competition glide across the finish line.