Customer Buying Process: Does it Matter?

We hope, that when you read the title of this blog, you took a guess at the answer in your head.

Well, what did you come up with? How much does the customer buying process really matter?

Put it this way, if you answered with anything except: The customer’s buying process is so important that it should be the basis of your own sales process…please, keep reading.

Developing a sales process from scratch, or even retooling an existing sales process can be a very involved exercise. However, no matter where you start from, one element is always consistent – your organization’s sales process should be centered around your customer’s buying process.

It’s not about you.

As it turns out, your sales process should have very little to do with your organization and everything to do with your customer. That’s right, as we often find ourselves repeating in the sales world: It’s not about YOU. It’s about your customer first. Every time. Always. And without exception.

Modern sales organizations know that you can push and push, but the buying decision is ultimately up to the customer. Therefore, a truly effective sales process must be built with your customer’s buying process in mind.

No matter how enticing your value proposition, when presented to the customer before they’re ready to make a decision, it will be for naught. Make sure you’re putting the right things in front of them at the right time.

Start by dissecting the customer relationship, determining its key phases and matching those with appropriate actions. Below is a sample of the action phases within a customer life cycle.

The key here is to understand your customer’s expectations and buying behavior in each phase of the relationship and, as a result, create the right experience to match or exceed those expectations. Not only does this allow you to identify the key activities that must take place, it also lets you identify the right person to do those activities. (Hint: sometimes it’s not the salesperson. That’s why so many salespeople say they’re bogged down in non-selling activities!)

Achieving relationship clarity also provides a picture of how long the sales cycle is likely to be, which enables your organization to manage expectations for how quickly a sale can occur.

TIP: One of the best ways to develop a picture of the right relationship is to use a cross-functional team within your organization to map it all out. Sales reps, managers, marketers and coordinators – and anyone else who may play a role in the sales process – can all add value to the discussion.