Hi, Jeff here with your 2 minute tip for marketing-minded sales leaders and sales-minded marketing leaders.
Marketing-minded sales leaders – big question for you. Have you ever been driving a great deal and then all of a sudden your energy and enthusiasm tanks and the whole sales process craters? Yes, we’ve all been there. I’d love to hear your stories about that type of situation and how you’ve gotten out of it.
What I want to do today is peel back that onion. And I’d like to extend the conversation we had in the last episode to focus on persona and the buyer’s journey and how we can potentially alleviate the situation by thinking more about the buying process and less about the sales process.
So to kick this off, we deal with people and collaborative buying groups often these days in large B2B enterprise deals. You will typically have a VP and an analyst and a CFO or a finance person involved. I’ve shifted them into personas so can caption their behaviors and motives. My VP is “Sam Strategy”, my analyst is “Annie Analyst” and the CFO is “Budget Barbara.”
In the early phases of the buying process – Status Quo to Problem Recognition – you can see it’s the Sam and Annie show. You have a great time, very collaborative, lots of fun, you’re given a high-five – it’s a lot of fun.
When you move into the Research phase, Annie becomes your best friend and you’re on speed dial. She’s doing a lot of data collection, you’re helping, curating information, as she’s really digging into potential solutions.
You make it through that milestone, into the Consider and Compare stage. All of a sudden, THIS is where it tanks. Budget Barbara shows up in the meeting; she hasn’t been around in the earlier stages and she caught wind of the project somewhat in the research stage as Sam has been teeing up the whole notion.
In this meeting, everyone is uptight. This is where the attitudes change. What you need to do, as a sales leader, is to shift the strategy and understand that in these later stages, Budget Barbara is really driving the show. You have to accommodate Budget Barbara needs and you have to prepare your content to appease Budget Barbara. So what do you do? How do you push through this situation?
First – STAY POSITIVE! You’re still friends with Bob and Annie; nothing’s changed. But realize they are putting their necks on the line and they are taking a step forward. They have built a level of trust in you and they want to invest in your solution, but they have to make sure it’s the right thing for the organization and also for their careers and there’s a bit of trepidation.
At this point stay focused. Match the tone. Next, when you’re dealing with Budget Barbara, don’t have the same conversation you’ve had with Sam and Annie. Step back and get some context. Why are you there in the first place? Think about the potential solutions you are offering and, most importantly, talk about return on investment (ROI), the efficiencies and the cost savings you are going to deliver. These are all the things that resonate with budget people like Barbara.
Be prepared to go deep and talk about the specifics should you have to. These are the strategies to use to keep things going in a positive direction. Once you get to those later stages, hopefully you’ve made it through.
I’d love to hear your stories about similar situations and understand that we really have to think about the buying process and who is on point in each of those stages of the buying process.
As always, I encourage you to think like a marketer and sell like an animal.