Developing & Implementing Your Sales Process & Selling Strategies
4. Selling Strategy and the Buying Cycle
You understand your sales model and have developed the appropriate sales process – so all you have to do now is implement it – WRONG!
Unfortunately for the sales person nearly all purchases follow the Buying Cycle (i.e. the stages a buyer goes through when making a buying decision - the buyer is not concerned with your sales process!), so you will have to match your sales process (and actions) to their process. This is particularly important if you are selling a high value, complex, long sales cycle solution. Developing your strategy is further complicated by the stage at which you enter the process and the actions of competition.
The buying cycle has six stages:
- Changes over time, recognition of need and buying strategy
- Setting solution objectives and buying criteria
- Evaluation of options
- Resolution of concerns
- Making the decision
- Implementation and follow-up
If you are going to influence the buying decision it is important that you put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. In a sales team you must match your sales process, people and appropriate skills to the buying cycle.
In a complex sale you will be dealing several people, with different roles in the company and in the buying cycle, and may be working with external parties such as consultants and head office functions. As a result different people will be at different stages of the cycle at different times, have different buying criteria and a different impact on the buying decision. You will have to tailor your sales process and actions and apply different skills at different stages and adapt them to the person / role you are dealing with.
What should you be doing at each stage of the Buying Cycle?
Who are the key people and what are their roles?
What tools do you have that can help you?
How do you handle the competition?
How do you achieve competitive advantage in the sales conversation?
I will tackle these and other questions over several following Blogs.