Buyer Dysfunction in Complex Sales
What is Buyer Dysfunction
In this post, we review Buyer Dysfunction, what it is, why it happens, how it screws up your sales process and what you can do about it.
I’m a complex salesguy.
Okay, that doesn’t mean I’m deep and profound. It just means that I’ve spent my career trying to perfect the art of managing complex sales cycle. You know, business-to-business-type deals that involve multiple stakeholders.
And one of the biggest problems with these complex sales cycles is that buying groups are often totally dysfunctional. And that’s a problem for us, right?
It ends up slowing the process down, new barriers come up, and quite often, it ends up with a much smaller deal than you otherwise would’ve had.
Where does this dysfunction come from?
So, each stakeholder you’re dealing with has their own personal agenda, they have their own departmental priorities, and maybe relationship issues. You know, politics that come into play.
And each one of these individual stakeholders has got to get on the same page and get alignment with all of the other stakeholders involved with them.
And there could be four, five, six, or more stakeholders involved in the whole process. And that’s where the dysfunction comes from.
Me vs We
Dysfunction is the gap between all of the different stakeholders’ agendas. It’s the difference between the “me” and the “we.”
What’s really interesting is how the dysfunction changes over the course of the buying process.
Buyer Dysfunction Over the Course Of the Buying Process
The Corporate Executive Board, which is now part of Gartner, studied this and they got feedback from over 3,000 business-to-business buyers. They asked them to rate how difficult decisions were to make over the course of a buying process.
Not surprisingly, making decisions as a group is much harder than making decisions as an individual. And the hardest step is identifying how they’ll solve the problem.
And this is where the dysfunction gap between “me” and “we” is the biggest. The smallest gap is when it comes down to deciding on which supplier to select. This means that the group struggles most when they’re deciding on their strategy.
Late in the Process
Picking a supplier is actually relatively easy. The biggest issue is that they typically don’t reach out to suppliers until much later in the process. So this means that we need to be better at getting involved earlier, better at influencing the decision about what the problem is and how to solve it, and doing that in a way that leads them to our door. I’ve been studying this process for a while now.
Learning About Tackling Buyer Dysfunction
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing practical tips and new ideas on things that you can do to overcome buyer dysfunction and move sales faster through the process. I’ve got workshops, webinars, videos, and blog posts coming up. If you’d like to learn from these, you can connect to me or follow me on LinkedIn, or you can sign up to my newsletter in the box on the right.