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Revenue Growth by Choice and The Buyer Orbit

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This is part 2 of a limited series on why buyer choice modeling is the new view B2B Business must adopt to improve revenue performance and develop long lasting relationships with buyers. 

Growth is getting harder and harder to come by.  With this comes the realization that some of the embedded thinking about how to reach and market to buyers are not working well.  In part 1 of this series we looked at how the funnel is facing a slow death and the limitations of so called funnel thinking.  We are entering a new era of the buyer.  Buyer behaviors are shifting yet we know only a fraction about this shift.  One emerging insight is that of buyer choice.  Simply stated, buyers are making multiple choices prior to as well as well after buying decisions.

Why It Is Important to Understand Buyer Choice

Buyers Have Many Options.  The floodgates have opened on channels, social media, old media, the Internet, and countless other ways to interact, explore, retrieve, and digest information in this new era of the buyer.  With countless options available, buyers are making choices on where to start their exploring.

The Buyer At The Center Of Strategy, Marketing, And Sales.  Conventional funnel thinking has a hard time doing this.  A better way of stating this is that conventional strategy, marketing, and sales decisions are funneled through an old paradigm of the buyer where marketing and sales held the information cards – cards used to target, sell, and persuade buyers.  Today, buyers make the choice on which information cards they decide to deal.  B2B leaders today must find ways to focus strategy on the buyer, the choices they make, and the experiences they have with their organizations.

Experience Determines Choice.  A while back, I made a choice to attend a Broadway musical – of which I am a big fan.  The pre-show experience and excitement was plenty of fun with a great dinner in New York.  The musical started and about 20 minutes into the musical the dread began to overcome me.  I knew this musical production was going to be – dreadful.  We made the choice to leave at intermission and the choice didn’t ruin the entire experience of the evening but it sure changed it.  We chose to find a jazz club and had a great time which meant cancelling out the plans we had after the show.  Buyers today are taking experience cues well before the buyer decision journey and well after.  The buyer experience cues they take-in alter their thinking about the choices they make.  And they could be choices about whether to continue having an experience with your organizations – or – find another.

Understanding Buyer Choice Helps You To Make The Right Choices Available

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Buyer choice anchors five choice elements that can be thought of as continuously orbiting buyers today.  A fundamental shift is happening here.  In the conventional DNA of funnel thinking, we are accustomed to thinking that involves phases or steps.  One phase ends and another phase begin.  What I propose is something we can call the Buyer Orbit.  This is meant to shift the thinking towards recognizing that buyers are continuously addressing goals, challenges, issues, uncertainty, and growth that are in a continuous orbital loop.  This applies to buyer choice:

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Explore.  As mentioned in part 1, funnel thinking usually started with attempts to make buyers aware of a product or solution.  It is still rooted in the thinking of flashing attention-getting means before buyer’s eyes as well as push messaging outwards in the hopes of making buyers aware.  Today, buyers are mapping out deliberate exploration prompted by the orbital loop of the goals and etc. that orbit them.  Confronted with many choices, buyers are taking time to map out where to explore, how to explore, and etc.

Network.  As buyers make progression towards less of a single buyer model to that of a world that includes ecosystems and open networks, buyers are making choices to interact with networks and different ecosystem players to collaborate on addressing the issues orbiting them.

Decide.  The way buyers decide today is becoming increasingly complex.   Choices are being made on such things as the rules for deciding, who is included, checking dependencies, and assessing impact.  Buyers today no longer make decisions in a vacuum.

Buy.  The actual buy choice has become a higher stakes game in the B2B world.  Not only are the rules for deciding more complex, but there are more dependencies related to buying and potential impact as well.  The experience element here is now more critical than ever because of the high stakes.  Making the wrong choice, for example, on a software platform designed to measure quality of manufactured parts could have drastic affects downstream with OEMs and distribution.

Relate.  The word – relate – has more applicability in a B2B context than say engage for example.  The higher stakes involved means buyers needs an organization that can relate to the high stakes and a relational bond is being formed.  In the example mentioned above, there may be many discussions before and after the buy choice to ensure that the software platform meets an intended goal.  The ability for B2B companies to provide relational choices and experiences becomes an important factor.  Does the company provide relational choices whether they are face-to-face, telephone, or complex networking technology that involves exchanging design ideas and specifications?

The new era of the buyer is resulting in a paradigm shift on what is required thinking about the buyer today.  Letting go of funnel thinking is no easy task – especially when you strip away the hyperbole and promotion that can surround strategy, it is still very much about the funnel.  Buyers today have many elements related to growth, goals, and uncertainty orbiting their world.  Making choices as this orbital loop continuously impacts their world is changing the very nature of buyer behavior today.  These changes are rocket propelled by a new world of hyper-connectivity and hyper-competition.

Next up: The Buyerology of the Buyer

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  • http://www.casemountain.com/ Michael Selissen

     In the olden days, buyers purchased IT products and services largely to support day-to-day operations. And they could express those needs fairly simply. We need a system to handle… email, database management, financial, HR, inventory, etc.  But today’s purchases have far greater impact across enterprise business processes, both internally and externally. So as you point out, it is no longer as simple as expressing a need and then comparing Vendor A and Vendor B. Buyers now explore and compare different directions and strategies before considering vendors. And they will even come back and question that decision if they’re not happy with vendor offerings.

    The challenge for vendors is to realize that their competition is more than just similar products, and that helping buyers navigate the five choice elements just might create a little gravitational pull in their direction.

    • http://www.buyerology.com/ Tony Zambito

      Hello Michael and thank you for your comment.  I appreciate what you’ve noted – that buyers today are assessing impact of their choices both internally and externally.  Vendors, especially in IT, find themsleves needing to move well beyond the old concepts of the single buyer and the single competitor.  Instead, moving towards a focus of how to be viewed as an integral part of enterprise processes, ecosystems, and thier networks of collaborators.  A whole new way of thinking that must orbit vendors as well.  Thanks!  Tony

      • Roscleverley

        Hi Tony,

        I can’t I believe I located you on the Internet. Thank you for making a difference and being such a visionary leader. By the way, this is Rose Cleverley (Sofchek) that worked with you at TRW. I’m work in the HR field now and also worked in operations management. I finally obtained my MA 10 yrs ago and looking to obtain my PhD.

        Because of your outstanding leadership it allowed me to be a great leader because you always lead by example and brought out the best in your direct reports. Anyways, Tony thank you for having faith in me and helping me grow as a person when I lacked confidence.

        You always told me to plan ahead and to survive now and in the future requires flexibility and always adapting to change. One must always invest themselves and keep up the times and future. I would always resist change but now I always always embrace change.

        Thank you for taking time to train me and opening my eyes. I wouldn’t be where I am now without your visionary leadership and your
        words of encouragement.

        Rose Cleverley, MA, SPHR
        Roscleverley@aol.com

        • http://www.buyerology.com/ Tony Zambito

          Hi Rose!

          How nice of you to put all this in the comment section.  I am so excited to see how far you’ve grown and what you’ve accomplished.  I am especially honored by your kind comments and it is wonderful to know I’ve helped in some small way towards your growth and goals in life.  Many blessings to you!

          Tony

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  • http://www.facebook.com/aaron.tobinhess Aaron Tobin-Hess

    Great
    article. The most valuable information marketing can deliver to sales
    is related to a prospect
    or customers’ propensity to buy specific products. B2B Purchase Behavior
    Data–what companies buy and how their behavior changes over time–is
    the most reliable indicator of a prospects’ intent and/or capacity to
    buy. Fortunately, B2B purchase behavior data
    is now available and is rapidly becoming a highly-valuable corporate
    asset.   

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