Thursday, November 03, 2005

Low-Hanging Buyers

A common mistake in companies is to target "buyers" who have no actual authority to buy. With a complex business-to-business sale, for example, the customer stakeholders who are most enthusiastic about, or familiar with, about your products often don't make the purchasing decision.

It's tempting to sell to people who already understand your product and what it can do for them. In some cases, the people who understand your product's benefits are the ones who will use your product. In other cases, it's IT people at the customer site who are developing internal solutions similar to your product. Unfortunately, your prospective customer's receptionist, though he may use the product, probably doesn't have the authority to purchase it. Your customer's IT people may understand what your product does, but they often are competitors, not buyers.

Don't be lazy. Sales and marketing is about educating the stakeholders who have the authority to buy, not about "preaching to the choir" of people who already understand your product's benefits. If your company doesn't have a strategy for educating these decision-makers, it's time to formulate one grounded in solid market research and marketing principles.

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