Navigating Decision Dynamics Along The Customer’s Journey, Part 2

Last week, we discussed the dynamics of the customer’s journey. Our focus was on the change dynamics that occur at the early stages of the customer’s journey, the awareness phase.

Now, we continue our sailing trip on the high seas. The dynamics change as we enter the actual buying phase. That means our prospects actually made a decision to tackle their challenges and to change their current state to achieve better business results in the future. It means they are officially looking for the best products, services, and solutions to drive their business results.

From change dynamics to decision dynamics

Change dynamics in the awareness phase are followed by decision dynamics in the actual buying phase. Changes in the buying team happen frequently. New influencers may show up, for instance from procurement. This factor alone will change the dynamics. In addition, the senior executives that were the main contact for the sales team until now may delegate the project to somebody else. New game. Different dynamics.

Each buyer looks differently at value, risks, and their personal wins

Decision dynamics have different characteristics. For the buyers, decision dynamics are more focused on how to make this project happen, how to make this a success with the best possible value and the lowest possible risks. And this is a question of each buyer’s individual perception. Value lies not only in the eyes of the beholder, also how risks are evaluated. That means there are the obvious business results that are important for each buyer, and then, there is the question of what’s in it for them personally. Is supporting this buying decision an unnecessary risk for their current job, or is it a necessary decision to make the next career step? These questions will be answered differently across the buying team. And this is what sales professionals should try to figure out to be able to tailor their value messages for each involved stakeholder. It’s about identifying what value means for each of them, and how they perceive and evaluate the project’s risk. Ideally, these findings should be mapped out on the opportunity’s relationship matrix, and connected to each person’s power potential and decision-making style.

Business value is more than ROI: It’s about the customer’s business case

A phased approach to getting to the desired future state is important for all stakeholders to understand what the project would look like. Then, the exact financial calculations matter. It’s important to understand that what worked a few years ago is no longer sufficient. To be precise, a product-driven ROI of your product or solution is only the beginning of what’s needed. Also here, let’s really work with the customers at the core. And that means understanding their overall business case, and tailoring the proposed solution’s financial impact to the customer’s business case. If they don’t share their information, it’s important to at least deliver the data they need to integrate in their business case. At the end of the day, there has to be a tangible connection between your product’s business impact and their relevant KPIs.

With preparation like this, sales teams are well positioned to become the customers’ best buying option. On top of that, excellent negotiation skills, which should have been already demonstrated along the way, should help to win the business.

Navigating these different dynamics along the customer’s journey requires enablement teams to develop their salespeople with all kinds of relevant skills, knowledge and strategies, but first and foremost to develop their adaptive skills.

Adaptive fluency is what makes the difference between good and great in these different situations: salespeople’s ability to quickly adjust their activities, behaviors, messages, and strategies when situations are new, changed, or becoming even more complex.

Questions for you:

  • How do you enable your salespeople across the buying phase, regarding skills, knowledge, strategies, and fluency?
  • Which content types and enablement tools do you provide for salespeople to prepare themselves and to share with prospects?
  • How do you address the “stalled opportunity” challenge?

 

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