We have had some conversations with parties who have expressed confidence that enterprise business customers can be pushed forward to buy now (regardless of budgetary constraints) if, in fact, they can be convinced that they have, in fact, a burning need for a product or solution. The rationale is that there are always dollars that can be had within enterprise businesses. We respectfully disagree with this view. Here’s why:
- We do not believe that enterprise customers who have to be convinced that they need something are, in fact, reliable customers. We are after customers for whom we can facilitate a purchase decision through a diagnostic process that opens a subject for discussion that, ultimately, the customer walks through to an inevitable conclusion in our favor. In this we agree entirely with Jeff Thull and his approach to The Complex Sale. Of course, if a buyer refuses to participate in the diagnostic process, or fails to move forward on an obvious conclusion, then we will walk away just as fast as any other sales team. Nevertheless, we strongly believe that the biggest pot lies at the end of a diagnostic rainbow with a customer who is 100% convinced that our product is precisely what the organization is after.
- Budgets are budgets, take them or leave them. If dollars are not available today, they may be available, appropriately, at a right time within a budget year. It makes no sense to pressure a customer to move now if, in fact, the customer can be trusted to move forward at a later time. The key here, of course, is trust. We think the best way to develop this confidence in the customer is to proceed through an extensive diagnostic process while, at the same time, a mapping exercise is undertaken to ensure that our buyer is precisely the buyer we are after, meaning someone with the authority within the organization to push an order through the system and into our hands. In sum, we err on the side of respecting the budgetary boundaries within which buyers say that they must operate
We think further, that this whole discussion emanates from cash constraints. Why else quibble about the amount of time it takes buyers to move forward? After all, sales is responsible for managing a funnel. The funnel should be kept at an optimum level to feed the troops throughout the entire engagement, not just right now.
The best solution for cash flow, as we see it, in tough markets is to look to online content and, potentially, ecommerce solutions to augment feet on the street and ear to the phone selling efforts. We think that there is lots of action out there in the ecommerce space. We strive to ensure that our customers participate fully in that activity.
If you like our point of view and care to further a discussion, then please contact Ira Michael Blonder at +1 631-673-2929 to further a discussion. You may also email Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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