The buyers journey

Understand the buyer's journey, TSL Marketing tells resellers

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The buyers journey Companies that do not recognise the buyers journey often become frustrated, says Kelly.
By  Mike kelyy Published  December 6, 2012

Mike Kelly is co-founder and EMEA managing director, TSL Marketing, shares insight on how Middle East resellers can dig deeper to understand their buyer’s journey.

One concept that we at TSL notice being adopted by ‘innovator’ resellers in the Middle East is that of the ‘Buyer’s Journey’. In many respects, the innovators in the Middle East are ahead of other parts of the world in adopting the concept. I use the term innovators, as only the most forward-thinking resellers have adopted the concept, while the Majorities and Laggards are still trying to “shorten sales cycles” and find other ways to easy sales.

The buyer’s journey describes the series of stages an organisational buying team goes through. It starts by acknowledging a ‘pain’ in the organisation, and goes through multiple phases until finally a solution is ‘engaged’. In sales terms, this means a solution is acquired from a vendor or reseller and implemented satisfactorily.

Companies that do not recognise the buyers journey (or do not take it seriously) often become frustrated with buyers, and whoever is developing their sales pipeline for them. Their attitude is ‘buy-or-die’. If the buyer won’t buy within the reseller’s timeframe, then it is not a real opportunity. These are the resellers that focus on tactics to shorten the sales cycle, jump from one marketing agency to another every six months, and wonder why some of their competitors are performing so much better.

The innovators on the other hand, adopt the buyer’s journey as part of their own process, and gear everything towards this. They develop specific marketing collateral (case studies, thought-leadership pieces, demos) that are aimed at specifically answering the questions that are raised at each stage of the journey. Buyers are drip-fed the information they need (and only that information) at each stage. In the early stages they receive high level briefing documents. In the later stages they receive more technical information and case studies specifically for their industry.

While this sounds like a lot of work for smaller companies and resellers, it can actually be done without enormous resources and at a reasonable cost. Many technology companies already have this information and collateral in place. It is just in the wrong format, and is being sent out at the wrong time. Buyers are overwhelmed with technical papers too early. Sales people are trying to close deals before they have even demonstrated credibility and built trust.

There is a huge opportunity across many markets in the Middle East for technology companies and resellers who are prepared to adapt their business practices to mirror the needs of the buyer, not the seller. Understanding your buyer’s journey is an excellent way to re-engineer your sales process to optimise long-term success.

About the Author:

Mike Kelly is co-founder and EMEA managing director of TSL Marketing, a specialist global IT channel marketing agency. More information: www.tslchannels.com

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