Sales Consulting Firm Buying ProcessHere 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:


  • Go make a deal with product management. Tell them if they will provide you a buying process map for each product, you will build a corresponding sales process.  You both win because more products will get sold.
  • If you have a single sales process but more than one product, recognize you have a problem. Find out the specific problems each product solves, for who, and how the target buyer decides on a solution.  Then, build custom sales processes for each.
  • If you have an off-the-shelf licensed sales process that is not universally adopted by the field, stop wasting the reps time by trying to enforce it.  These sales methodologies have been around for 30 years and have never worked as advertised.  They are not going to magically work this year.
  • If you don’t have a sales process at all, get one and fast.  Companies that have one out perform those that don’t have one 5x.


What do you think of sales leaders?  Can you better leverage those smart people in product management?



Greg Alexander

Leads the firm's focus on the CEO’s role in accelerating revenue growth by getting the product team, the marketing department, and the sales organization into strategic alignment.

Greg is the host of The SBI Podcast, the most listened to sales and marketing podcast on the internet.


He is the host of SBI TV, a monthly television program broadcast on the internet featuring top B2B sales and marketing leader sharing their strategies to grow revenues.


Greg is the Editor-in-Chief of The SBI Magazine, the leading B2B publication focused on sales and marketing effectiveness.


He is the author of two critically acclaimed books Topgrading for Sales and Making the Number.


Greg has authored over 100 articles on SBI’s award winning blog, The SBI Blog.


He graduated from The University of Massachusetts Amherst with a BA in English and received his MBA from Georgia Tech.




Transforming the Sales Organization inside Fortune 500 Companies

Greg Alexander and John Gleason, Chief Sales Officer of Ryder, talk about the unique challenges of transforming a sales team inside of very large enterprises.


A Better Way to Structure Your Sales Force

Greg Alexander and Tony Capucille, Chief Sales Officer at Heartland Payment Systems, discuss the pros and cons of the 7 B2B sales organizational models.


Build a team of A Players Inside the Sales Organization

Greg Alexander and Todd Cione, Chief Revenue Officer at Rackspace, talk about hiring, onboarding, and developing exceptional sales talent.




Fill Every Role on Your Team with an A Player

In this article, Greg Alexander makes the case for applying the TopGrading methodology to the sales team, and outlines how to do so.


What CEOs Need to Know About Their Marketing Strategies

In this article, Greg Alexander and Rashid Skaf, CEO of AMX, discuss the role the CEO plays in crafting a company’s marketing strategy.


What CEOs are Looking for in a Sales Leader

In this article, Greg Alexander and George Norton, leader of Heidrick & Struggles Chief Sales Officer practice, discuss what CEOs need in the chief sales officer role.

Read full bio >