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Buying – A (Small) Piece of the Puzzle

by Hank Barnes  |  September 11, 2018  |  2 Comments

Recent discussions around the buying process, the sales process, and purchase regret have spurred a lot of discussion on whether we have our priorities straight.  Dave Brock talks about this a lot–and covered it very recently as a result of many of these same discussions.   The buy is often on a small piece in the puzzle.

Source: on pexels

Source: on pexels

It is really important to remember that people don’t buy things to buy them.  They buy to solve a problem or satisfy a desire.   They want to get something done.   You don’t buy a house and then just admire it and do nothing with it.   Buying the house often triggers more buying as you “make it your own.”  You get value from buying the house because it is a great place to live and it makes you happy.

The same thing applies to business.   Companies don’t buy things to buy them.  There is a reason.    Often, the purchase, as Dave mentions, is a small part of a bigger initiative.   Even if its a large part, it seldom stands alone.

And yet, as we focus on making buying easier and buyer enablement and challenging, we need to recognize that that focus is a moment in time.   Buying is just the start of something that is next.   Customers tell us this.  Much of our research on buying at Gartner has pointed to a key thing to “push the deal over the line” is clarity on the path to value–implementation plans, adoption guides, etc.

Some of this feels obvious, but we often take it for granted, because in the “seller’s world”, the win is often what matters.  It’s what we’ve been conditioned to focus on.  Subscription models are changing this (although many SaaS companies are pushing for longer contracts for financial certainty (and perhaps unfortunately, to reduce the burden on achieving value rapidly) and some industries have long recognized this.  But it still is often not the focus.

What if it was?   What if part of making buying easier was actually focused on making it easier for clients to get value from their purchase?  What if we focused beyond the win, with more emphasis on achieving value?

When you think about purchase regret, it’s not just about the buy–it’s about the confidence and willingness to commit to achieving value.  Think about when you’ve made a big purchase but settled—what happens next?   Do you get excited about using the product or do you feel like you have to?   Regret creates a value delay—it slows the progress.

While as vendors, the focus needs to be on buying and selling processes, recognize that you really are focused beyond buying and beyond selling.   It’s about the bigger picture.   Connect to that and help complete the puzzle and you’ve enabled your customers, the buyers, to win.


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Category: go-to-market  

Tags: b2bsales  buying-cycle  buying-enablement  problem-solving  sales-cycle  value  

Hank Barnes
VP Distinguished Analyst
6+ years at Gartner
30+ years IT Industry

Hank Barnes explores the dynamics, challenges, and frustrations enterprises face when buying technology products and services. Using that customer-centric lens, he advises those responsible for marketing technology products and services, general managers responsible for product portfolios, and startup CEOs on next practices to drive success for their customers and their business. Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Buying – A (Small) Piece of the Puzzle

  1. Dave Brock says:

    Hank, thanks both for the shout out and continuing this conversation. While we may be focused on the customer buying process, we align ourselves more effectively when we at least understand beyond the sale, contributing what we can in helping the customer with the issues they are looking at.

  2. Thanks for this Hank. If this philosophy were to be embraced, it would direct attention towards more holistic measures of performance and success.

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