For the past several years, industry analysts and other thought leaders have been urging marketing and sales professionals to switch from Sell to Help buyers to buy. Advocates of this change argue that it will enable marketers and salespeople to better align with the decision-making needs of potential buyers and create more meaningful and trusting relationships.
The problem is that the approach to helping buyers buy doesn’t go far enough. As Tony Zampetto, founder of Buyer Persona, noted in a recent blog post, “If the content and sales conversations are about helping with buying, there’s still a mindset toward just selling. And it can be clear to buyers that you’re the selling team. That you want to help them buy your products, solutions, and services. .”
Tony suggests that the best approach to take for marketers and sales is: “Helping buyers achieve future goals and meet future challenges.” He argues that this approach will align them better with where many potential buyers are already in the decision-making process. Once marketers and salespeople help potential buyers “discover things”, they can then move on to helping those potential customers make a purchase.
Helping buyers achieve future goals and meet future challenges is the right first approach to use when dealing with a potential customer, but it will only be effective if the potential buying team believes that the information and advice given by the potential seller is accurate and, most importantly, unbiased. Only then will potential buyers trust enough information and advice to rely on them with confidence to support their decisions.
The importance of decision confidence
in a previous post, discussed the importance of helping potential buyers develop confidence in their decision-making process. Gartner research found that confidence in a decision increases the likelihood of a positive decision on a “new” purchase by 2.6 times.
The best way for marketing and sales professionals to help potential buyers develop confidence in their decision making is to provide accurate and objective information that helps decision makers make the choices most appropriate for their organization. This can mean providing information or advice that may prompt the purchasing team to make a decision Not to purchase your product or service.
At this point, you might ask: “Why would we want to provide information or advice that could lead a potential customer Not To do business with us? “The answer, of course, is that you don’t do You want these conditions to arise more often. The best way to avoid falling into this situation is to make wise choices about potential clients to work with.
Choose the right clients
Customer selection is a vital issue for both business strategy and marketing/sales strategy. in a Playing to Win: How Strategy Really WorksRoger L. Martin, Professor Emeritus at the Rotman School of Management, and A.J. Lovely, former President and CEO of Proctor & Gamble, describe a five-point framework for designing an effective business strategy. Martin and Lafley describe their framework in the form of Five Essential Questions. While all of these questions are important, the two most important questions in formulating strategy are:
- Where will we play? – In what markets, with what types of customers, in what channels, in what product categories, and at what vertical or phases of the industry will we compete?
- How will we win? – How will we succeed in our specific field of play?
For marketing and sales professionals, customer selection is the most important aspect of the “Where to Play” question. The goal should be to identify the types of potential customers who are likely to purchase your products or services after a thorough assessment of their needs and available alternatives based on accurate and objective information.
Identifying this pool of potential clients will enable marketing and sales professionals to provide accurate and unbiased information and advice while ensuring that Probably Winning a potential client’s business is high.