We set out to prove that our oft claimed strategy of integrating the buyer into your sales process at the very beginning of the sales cycle provides deep rewards down the line. By integrating buyers in your process early, we argue, you are gaining almost insurmountable advantages over your competition. Here are just two of the main advantages.
- Buyer buy-in. In other words the buyer will be on the ride with you as you and the respective technical teams build up a technology solution. She’ll have a say at each fork in the road and understand the economic repercussions of each decision. So by definition, your price tag will be acceptable, the buyer knows what it is before you submit it. As long as your technology is at least comparable to your competition – you’ll win the job every time.
- Your customer’s engineering team will often be on your side, because they are mainly interested in the best technical solution, period. As such, as you and they begin to form that solution, they will act as your agent – convincing the buyer that your combined solution is the best path forward. When your competition’s proposal shows up and no one has even seen it before, you will look like the safe bet.
We surveyed a swath of buyers from major domestic corporations in the fields of telecommunications, advanced materials, manufacturing, aerospace and aviation, mining, and advanced electronics; we stayed away from buyers in the retail world. While a statistician would have no problems poking holes in our method, you can’t argue with the practical results – and that’s all we really care about.
For this post, we’re detailing the question that asked for the top five mistakes that engineers and salesmen make when trying to sell into their respective organizations. The questions were asked in an open format, so that they participants could answer in any manner that they felt best. Here are some of the quotes that we received.
Don’t talk down to buyers.
Don’t ignore the buyer when you get them in the meeting.
Engineering estimates are not the same as quotations.
Don’t try to backdoor the buyer by going through the engineer.
So here they are – the top five buyer’s pet peeves.
5. Trying to weasel in the back door of the company through an engineer.
4. Not offering alternate solutions.
3. Not knowing about either company’s terms and conditions.
2. Underestimating the buyer’s technical knowledge.
1. Not bringing the buyer in the process from the very beginning.
In support of the number one reason, one of the survey questions was:
At what stage in the buying process do you like to be brought in at?
a) During the initial sales call
b) After your engineers have approved the solution
c) While a quote is being developed
d) After delivery of quotation
100% of the respondents answered (a) they want to be brought into the sales process in the very beginning.
In reality most buyers are brought in the process at step (d) after delivery of the quotation. If they (buyers) want in at the beginning of the sales cycle and we (sellers) want that too, why is it so rarely done? I guess we’d need another research study to determine that!
Bottom Line: Get the buyer’s involved right from the start and you’ll be buying them a beer after the deal closes!