Further to our latest blog titled “Are Your Customers Your Real Competition?”, the next concept is about how can you work with your customers and prospective customers to enable them to make change. If your team is creating the demand, when you show up the customer is firmly entrenched in the status quo. They need to be aligned to the vision that you are creating for them before they will invest the time, resources and political capital to investigate moving from the status quo.

If you have one individual aligned to your vision, as referenced in the previous blog, 5.4 people are showing up in the decision making process. Based on their different roles, perspectives and priorities, their ability to align and agree creates “dysfunction” in the buying process. The latest CEB research on this topic indicates that the dysfunction grows as they focus on the Problem Definition, Identifying Solutions and Supplier Selection. This decreases the chances both in getting a decision or a quality decision.

What changes these data points in a positive direction is aligning the customer team by focusing on the “Commercial Outcome” the solution creates for their organization. I like to talk about the “business case for change” because I believe we as vendors play a lead role in guiding the customer and working with them to develop the story. This piece of work is crucial to both establish value and create momentum. It also helps create alignment on the customer side. The data is compelling. If the 5.4 stakeholders are aligned on the value of the commercial outcome versus their own interests, then:

-the win rate for the highest cost supplier goes up by 68% [example: win rate is 20% now, it goes up 34%]
-the chances that the customer makes a decision goes up by 30%

If you do the math on your funnel, that creates a significant shift in your results. The bigger question relates to the tactics required to enable the change.

We would encourage you to think about two different opportunity areas. The first is about gaining access and being able to educate and establish value with the 5.4 stakeholders. They will come from different functions and will arrive with different perspectives and priorities. How they perceive value and what is in it for them will be different. Based on your preparation and understanding of the people in this puzzle, how do you adjust your value story to resonate with each stakeholder?

The second opportunity area is bringing the collective story together based on the commercial outcome the solution creates for their organization. The strength of the business case for change creates an alignment opportunity for the 5.4 people. If they are aligned, what has been proven is that you can create some price elasticity and the chances of them making a decision increasing significantly, even when procurement is involved.

We have seen some very strong results through this application. This requires a different sales strategy, approach and preparation for the deals you choose to pursue. Our next blog will be on the topic of creating the business case with your customers.

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Posted In corporate strategy
Building the Business Case for Change