This is the nineteenth in a series of articles for e-learning for Advanced Sales Training for IT and High-Tech Sales.
Sales Strategy – Sales Conversation: Buyer - Seller Interaction.
This article on sales strategy highlights the complexity and multifaceted nature of interactions between sellers and buyers in the modern business environment. These interactions are not just limited to planned, one-on-one sales conversations. Instead, they encompass a broader range of connected experiences involving various departments like accounts, legal, commercial, and even interactions at the board of directors level.
The Industrial Marketing & Purchasing (IMP) Group model.
This model is referenced to illustrate that buyer-seller interactions occur within a specific business environment and atmosphere, involving not just the individuals but the entire organizations. This model underscores the importance of understanding the broader context in which these interactions take place.
Buyer - Seller Interactions
The Business Environment in which the interactions and exchanges take place is affected by the Market Structure, Market Dynamism, Market Internationalisation, Position in the Supply Chain and Social System in which the companies exist.
The Atmosphere is impacted by the Power / Interdependence of the two parties, the level of Cooperation (e.g., shared technology), the Closeness of the relationship (commitment & trust), and the Expectations of each party of the other. If it is a long-term relationship, then interactions are affected by the institutionalisation (the development of norms) in the relationship and the adaptations of the interaction and exchange processes over time.
Touchpoints are about the exchanges that take place between the two organisations at individual level (with their own biases and objectives) and organizational level (with their differing goals and strategies) and include: Product/ service exchange, Information exchange, Financial exchange, Social exchange.
Information exchange may be technical (e.g., where there is a joint product development programme), or considered sensitive and confidential such as cost data or strategic information. Sharing of information can also take place in formal and informal environments which may lead to new insights and more detailed discussions.
Sales Strategy - Buyer - Seller Interaction
For an account manager or any sales professional, a good sales strategy includes being aware of, and managing, every touchpoint and exchange with the customer. This includes understanding the impact of each interaction on the customer experience and the overall sales potential. Furthermore, it suggests that awareness of the consequences of inappropriate comments or actions should be an integral part of employee training and induction programs.