One disconnect is that customers are expecting and even demanding that the purchasing process become "more pull, less push" . What do customers mean by this and how can it be achieved?The fundamental concept surveyed customers convey is that when they are interested in buying and they are not interested in being "sold". This calls for the realignment of your marketing strategy: self-assisted information systems to map information needs of buyers, providing the right information at the right juncture in the buying cycle. In-depth explorations of customer buying processes can help identify this and enable alignment. This may be the most critical realignment of all with incredible payback in increased velocity, reshaping your sales funnel into a cylinder! Silicon Valley Research Group is currently working on an extensive in-depth customer buying cycle mapping process for one of our clients. The results will enable mapping of information assets into the buying cycle, enabling our client to optimize timing and vehicles for information delivery.
More Pull/Less Push requires making critical information much more easily accessible and consumable. Many technology vendors shy away from providing pricing information too soon, to keep prospects in the fold for as long as possible. In a world of finger-tip ready information, this strategy can often lead to frustration and may cause the prospect to abort the evaluation process prematurely. Complex pricing structures can be conveyed through provision of quick calculators and information highlighting what similar customers can be expected to pay. This is also a great opportunity to present the upside. For example, here is what you may pay for the software as a service, here is what you will save, based on empirical findings. The web page when peppered with great customer testimonials highlighting the savings can be a powerful motivator. BOSE Radio print ad response rate went up 44% by the simple inclusion of customer testimonials strategically placed.
What then, it the role of the salesperson, when he or she does show up? Today the sales person is facilitating a buying process that has begun long before the face-to-face call is made, seamlessly matched to the prospects information requirements. The salesperson faces an informed prospect. What the sales person needs to demonstrate, as corroborated by our surveys, is thorough knowledge of the prospect's business, the overall industry, and perspective on key issues facing the buyer. In addition, they need know how your product solves these problems plus a deep knowledge of what the competitor's product can and cannot do.
Alan Nazarelli is President & CEO of Silicon Valley Research Group, a global market research and strategy development firm focused on the needs of technology companies.
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