Our sales process … or the client’s buying process?

Why prioritize your own internal processes over the needs of your customer?

Thanks to Aki Sopanen, from Rema Partners, for this suggestion on prioritizing your customer’s purchasing process over your own sales process!

People talk about the selling process often. Sales opportunities are measured by the customer’s stage in your sales funnel. These stages are weighted and scored according to customers who work as your sales process predicts (or more accurately, hopes). While speaking with Aki, the traditional ‘sales process’ started to sound a little … insane.

Your customer is buying, so to best make sense on how to sell to them, you’d naturally be better off trying to understand and work with your customer’s purchasing process. Perhaps this happens already, but discussions tend to remain focused on the sales process.

As an example :

A customer sends a request for proposal, but you’ve never heard from them before.

  • In which stage of your sales process is this customer?
  • In which stage of their buying process is this customer?

In your sales process, you might set this customer’s stage as “Qualification”, with a close probability of 10%. But what if the customer’s buying process is much further along, for example in the “Supplier Identification” phase – which in their purchasing process is preceded by identifying the company’s needs, setting a budget, and committing decision makers to the project.

What if, instead of prioritising our own needs we concentrated on helping the customer succeed with that purchasing process. Perhaps we might not win every prospective deal, but in return we get :

  • A better ability to help our customers solve their problems
  • More satisfied customers, and less arguments about pricing
  • Bigger win rates and bigger deals with customers that we are a true fit for

What do you think? Should we change our mindset from our sales process to our customer’s purchasing process? And should our sales team or our sales leadership lead that change?

Picture: Rema Partners Opportunity-Process

Is your sales process – or your customer’s buying process – a bottleneck in your organization? Interested in hearing how Axenon can help you sell better, smarter, and easier? Drop your contact details into the form below and I’ll be in touch!

Samuli Rantala

Samuli Rantala

Country Manager at Axenon Oy
Samuli Rantala has previously worked for several growth companies in coach and mentor roles and is also a Venture Program Mentor at Aalto University. As part of Axenon Nordic, Samuli helps clients and users get excited about customer relationship management, enabling them to unlock the full potential of Salesforce.
Samuli Rantala