Friday, September 17, 2010

 

Understanding the buyer ecosystem (and why it's important)

There rarely is a single buyer, for anything.  One person may sign the contract, or write the check, or pluck down their credit card.  But there are always others involved.

Complex products often involve plenty of direct buyers.  Multiple stakeholders who need to review & approve the purchase.  Decision-makers, budget-holders, implementers.

But even when there’s a single decision-point in the organization (or in a consumer sale), there are typically plenty more influences in the buying ecosystem.  There are other users, influencers who may have used the product or service before who are consulted, friends or peers in similar situations or positions.  All of these have sway, directly or indirectly, in not only the purchase decision, but the speed at which it can happen.

As a seller, you have to understand the entire buyer ecosystem.  You need to have a strategy for addressing and/or influencing each factor.  You need to understand the relative influence different players have, where they sit in the hierarchy and process by which the primary buyer makes a decision.

The better you know the full buying process, and every influence therein, the better you’re able to increase close rates, accelerate sales velocity, and sustain a product strategy (independent of the sales process) that addresses what your customers truly need.

 


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