Harvard Business Review (HBR) March 2015
- On average 5.4 people have to formally sign-off on B2B purchases.
- Best way to build customer consensus isn’t to do a better job of connecting individual customer stakeholders to the supplier but to more effectively connect customer stakeholders to one another.
- Problem definition and solution identification are much more difficult for buyers to reach consensus than supplier selection. Suppliers focus too much on supplier selection.
- By the time suppliers get engaged (supplier selection) customer consensus/alignment has already fallen apart.
- Buyers are twice as willing to buy than they are to advocate on behalf of a supplier.
- Personal value (career advancement, recognition, etc.) is five times more likely to promote advocacy than business value (ROI, TCO, etc.).
- Creating customer consensus starts by creating common ground through common vocabulary among customer stakeholders (CXO, End-Users, etc.).
- Make sales and marketing aids supplier neutral so advocates can use to quickly and easily build consensus/alignment among key stakeholders.
- Sales and marketing must figure out how to truly work together to make the required changes before their competition does.
Our Point of View:
- The number of stakeholders directly and indirectly involved with major purchases will continue to increase.
- Problem definition (Problem Space) is by far the most difficult phase for customer stakeholders.
- The same vocabulary, standards, and tools must be used to connect customer stakeholders with each other and their suppliers.
- Customers want and are willing to accept help with problem identification and solution selection.
- A shift in mind-set along with an immediate investment in skill-sets and tool-sets by sales AND marketing must be made to make the required changes.