Author: Clausematch– clausematch.com
You’ve heard the expression that the best customers get the best customer experience, right? Well…the saying holds true in the buying experience.
POV: You’ve received a sales email/call that has piqued your interest. You’ve agreed to a meeting, curious to learn more about the offering. Fast forward. The product you’ve now seen can effectively solve the challenges your team is having, and ultimately supports the businesses’ bigger objectives. You think, “I need to speak with other members of the team. I’ll reach back out once that’s done.” Inevitably, it slips through the cracks and it now feels like you’re being chased by a vendor trying to understand how those internal conversations went. Feeling like a topic of the past, a quick “thanks, but we’re not interested,” or worse, no reply which in either case leads to what feels like endless sales follow-ups.
How can you avoid this?
- Before agreeing to the meeting, validate if it’s in fact something that’s worth your time. Ask the vendor to answer a few simple questions:
- What are the unique value propositions offered by the solution?
- What are the common use cases other businesses are using the solution for?
- Which one of your clients is most similar to our business?
- What are the pros and cons of using your solution?
- Who are your competitors?
- Why would my CFO sign off on this?
2. Ask the vendor what they intend to ask you in the meeting. Typically a vendor will (and should) be trying to identify pain(s) within the current way of working. Once identified, a good consultative salesperson will tell you how a product alleviates your pain or not. So before sitting in a meeting, it’s best to think about responses to the following (Using Clausematch as an example in terms of category):
- How do you currently approach this aspect of business? (Ex: Policy Management)
- What are the pros and cons of working this way?
- What are the risks of doing nothing, and how does this impact me, my team and the business?
- What priority level within the business would this be categorised as?
Collaborating with a vendor to uncover problem statements, pain and requirements can make a night and day difference for you to effectively make a formal decision on your need for specific technology.
3. Always try to include another stakeholder in the demo. Granted, maybe you’re waiting to see the product yourself before looping in an entire group. But including just one other relevant person to see the product for the first time will provide the opportunity to share feedback, exchange opinions, and simply expose the solution to another individual in your company.
4. Ask the sales rep you’re working with to draft the base of a Business Case for your business. (But for the sake of your rep, only do this if you’re serious about driving the project forward and getting this in front of the buying eyes).
5. Bring in your C-Suite the moment you’ve validated the product has value and you’d like to move forward (and way before you’re only going there to ask for budget approval.)
- A common mistake that occurs is when the primary person evaluating the platform brings in the executive decision maker’s desk at the very end of a buying process to get budget approval and immediately gets rejected. The CFOs/CEOs don’t:
- Feel the same pain that led you to evaluate this solution in the first place,
- Comprehend the value brought forward (they haven’t seen the platform),
- Understand why this is a must-have and not a nice-to-have (i.e. you’ve made the argument that this will help your team be efficient as opposed to how it helps the business achieve it’s ‘bigger priority’ goals.)
6. Always be honest with a vendor. If you’re not interested, say so. If you can provide feedback as to why, you’d be surprised at how that helps impact product ideas and elements like pricing. If you are interested, then get the right buyers involved. Typically in every technology purchase, that includes:
- CTO/CISO to approve IT & Security
- General Counsel or Head of Legal to approve the Business Terms & Agreement
- CFO to approve budget spend
- CEO/COO to approve overall new purchase
We’re all busy people with little time to waste in a day. Being the best buyer takes some extra effort, but it will pay you back in time (literally!) and effort when evaluating new vendors in 2023.