Little nightly thoughts
by Business Exploration

Dear Fellow Innovator,

Being able to influence the entire journey of our buyer, is the only viable way to create a flow of qualified leads towards our sales force.
This is the reason my coaching program has a full session dedicated to mapping the buyer's decision process.
There are two key steps buyers take: "Framing the Problem" and "Skimming Alternatives". But the only way to really influence them is ask the buyers about their journey.

Ask the buyers about their journey.

The only true way to know how the buyers arrive to select your solution, is asking them. But there is a Caveat and a small framework that can help.

In case of Complex Sales infact, mass marketing techniques are not right choice:

  • the reduced count of possible targets and
  • The dimension of investments per lead

Request to have much higher success rateos in engaging the customer than those techniques are built for.

The 2 key steps of the buying decision process

The two key steps of the Buying decision process are:

  • Framing the Problem
  • Skimming the Alternatives

What this semplified version of the Buer's journey says is that to move the customer out of the "Status quo" we need an initial moment of disruption. A surprise that either come from an external challenge, signaling that "the world has changed",
or coming from a new view on an internal contraddiction of the business model, that challenges one of its fundamental assumptions.

Once the status quo has been shaked to the foundations, then the buyer start to search for a new "framework" in which possibly restore the calm. The Buyers need to expand its knowledge and understanding, listening to new sources of information, comparing scenarios and learning from peers experiences, finally coming up to a new possible "fitting" for himself and his organization, in the new world.

Here the contacts with the seller becomes more serious, cause the buyer need to expand the portfolio of possible solutions - even dreaming the impossible. Only after this expansion of possibilities happen they are reduced taking into account the best compromise factors.

Before to sanction an order and start the life in the new world.

There is however a “Caveat” in exploring the Buyers Journey.

The specificity of our Customers’ needs, command that we avoid to figure out how they will decide to go for our solution, and we ask about the steps of the decision process directly to the source: the Customer.

Making the interviews to the Customer requires a bit of professionalism in order to:

  • uncover those low level signals that can uncover important decision’s steps
  • avoid to transform (at least in the eyes of the Customer) a marketing interview into a Sales Pitch.

There is nothing to make a Customer provide un-useful answers like feeling to being sold the solution (one more time).
For this reason companies starting to adopt persuasive marketing models tend to do one of these 2 things:

  • Hire a professional journalist and leverage his/her interviewing skills to get the hints from the Customers in a smooth way.
  • Hire a professional consultant who acts as a third party between Customer and the Company, to conduct the interview in an un-biased way

Whether you choose the Journalist or the Consultant option, in any case it may be useful to leverage the little framework you find in this page head and the schematic buying processes here below.

The 4 buying decision processes:

Every Buyer’s Journey it’s unique, but some common path has been mapped out in the 4 processes summarized here:

  • The Decision process, (seen by the “who’s influencing” angle)
  • The Evaluation Process
  • The Buy process ( about the transaction experience )
  • The Loyalty process (about the re-purchase experience)/li>

Follow them and your buyer’s interview can probably flow better.

Here you can download the B2B buyer's journey template

The B2B buyer's journey

And as usual I am more than happy to guide you into further details.
Hope this helps,
Flavio


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