The Buyer’s Dilemma in a Complex Environment

You are responsible for an IT organization and your main goal is to outsource your own function as part of a corporate EBIT optimization program, which means processing many different tasks and issues—fact-based and change-related—that are all connected to each other. You’ll also have conversations with providers who understand your situation and your desired outcomes as well as others who just want to sell cloud capacity. If you ask the latter about the impact on implementation and adoption, they may come back with a cheaper price. Who is the provider that creates add-on value with new approaches? Who can map your specific context and people’s different concepts to the specific situation to achieve tangible results?
Comparable scenarios could include buying new robot technology for an assembly line or buying a new enterprise software for core processes.

More data, information and content – but more meaning?

  • There is no such thing as the “well-informed, self-directed” buyer who is always prepared to make a good decision. Some buyers perform a lot of research, others don’t. A few conduct too much niche-only research, or in the wrong direction, and come up with ideas that are not suitable for solving the current problem. Shopping versus buying. Buyers are often still confused, but on a higher level.
  • Business impact can be difficult to determine from the content that’s provided in the public domain, even if the content is focused on business challenges and impact. The reason is that most ROI calculators determine the potential value of the provider’s solution, but not the ROI of the buyer’s desired solution, which requires more than typical data–it requires situational context.

Internal selling – the buyer’s most challenging job

  • Internal selling for buyers sounds strange, doesn’t it? But influencing and orchestrating across the buying community–selling your story, your future vision of success–to senior executive sponsors and to all sorts of committees to secure their buy-in is challenging and requires a lot of virtual leadership skills. •
  • Internal selling is also orchestrating potential partners. Where and how can a potential partner help you change a buying influence’s perspective? A partner’s specific knowledge and experience can be very valuable, especially regarding questions on ROI calculations and outcomes. A top sales professional’s value lies in helping you discover areas of potential value creation you didn’t see before. Involving potential partners at this point is helpful for getting to a better decision quicker.

Buyers in complex environments still have a dilemma, but it has changed. Before the Internet, they had an information deficit; now they are suffering from information overflow
and are looking for the specific value and meaning for their specific buying situation. Leadership and conscious collaboration are required on both sides–from the relevant decision maker whose job is to orchestrate the buying team and from the sales teams working with those buying teams.
Leading a buying team toward a future vision of success is the decision maker’s responsibility.
Orchestrating a buying team–understanding their context and concepts to be able to provide perspectives the buying team didn’t see before in order to help them achieve their desired outcomes–that’s a sales professional’s responsibility.

Related posts: Context Matters

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