article | January 27, 2012
Who is Responsible for Mapping the Buying Process? A Sales Consulting Firm’s POV
Here is what we have learned:
Sales should not be burdened with the task of mapping the buying process for their product or service.
Product Management should deliver to sales a buying process map for the product or service.
4 Reasons Why Product Management Should Map the Buying Process:
1 – It must get done and sales departments are not doing it. Without a buying process map, you cannot sell effectively. After a half decade of sales leaders talking about it, in the end, they don’t have the time. Ask Product Management to get it done.
2 – Product Management routinely speaks with suspects, prospects, and customers, as part of their job. But, they can have a conversation sales cannot have, resulting in rich buyer intelligence. It goes like this:
“Hi my name is Sue. I am a product manager. I am not a sales person and could not sell anything to you if I wanted to. I am speaking to you today to better understand the market problems that exist with (insert problem your product solves). This understanding will allow us to invest our development resources properly. This will result in new products that can help make your life better.
Would you please tell me as you began the selection process, what were you looking for? What were your selection criteria? How did you build the initial list of vendors? Why did you choose vendor XYZ vs. vendor ABC? Etc.”
3 – Product Management has a running head start in that they already have buyer and user personas built. They have to provide development with product requirements. Step one in developing product requirements is to do the research that goes into the personas.
When sales are tasked with mapping the buying process, they build personas from scratch. I am not sure why sales insist on duplicating work that has already been performed, but they do it every time. Marketing (Cats) and Sales (Dogs) continue to fight. Leverage what has already been built.
4 – Product Management is organized, as a department, by product. A product manager is measured on how much revenue her product is producing. This means she only cares about how her target buyer makes a purchasing decision for her product. This results in several buying process maps, one developed by each product manager for each product. This is how it should be done.
Sales, as a department, are not organized by product. A sales leader is not measured on how much revenue a single product produces but rather, his total revenue produced across all products. This means he wrongfully performs a single buying process map, with no recognition of the different purchasing processes for each product. Worse, he builds a single sales process and forces his reps to use a generic sales methodology that frustrates buyer/seller due to its lack of relevancy.
Call to Action for Sales:
What do you think of sales leaders? Can you better leverage those smart people in product management?
For many B2B companies, the effort to continually maintain and improve their products has become too...
Technology companies are years ahead of any other industry when it comes to leveraging data to infor...
Your obligations as a Revenue Operations leader are under constant pressure. Your sales team is cons...
As Summer wraps up and a successful third quarter draws towards a close, it’s time for sales l...
Many sales leaders like you are deep into annual planning right now. As budgets are determined...
Every year, thousands of companies spend millions of dollars on sales kickoff (SKO) events. You are ...
You’ve completed planning for the upcoming year, and in order to hit your number, you’ve...
The job of a sales enablement leader continues to get more and more difficult. You are constantly ex...
SBI TV episodes bring you Sales and Marketing insights from B2B industry thought leaders and growth experts, on topics like product, pricing, customer experience and success, and go to market. Catch up on new and previous episodes here.