It’s Time to Focus on Customer Outcomes
Let’s face it: If you’re involved in complex B2B sales environments, your potential customers don’t actually care very much about your so-called “solutions”. They care far more about the business outcomes you can help them achieve. Customer outcomes should be your focus!
Customers don’t want to be subjected to your predetermined “sales process”. They want you to help them to successfully navigate their buying decision journey.
If they’re trying to make any form of high-stakes or significant decision, that journey will not be straightforward. They will have to deal with twists, turns and obstacles along the way. And they will have to form a coalition of multiple stakeholders who will often have very different (and sometimes conflicting!) interests.
Focus on Customer Outcomes Longer Term
Their buying decision journey isn’t over when they place an order on their chosen supplier. It’s only over when they achieve the business outcomes they had been looking for and when everybody concerned agrees that the business value they were expecting when they approved the investment has actually been delivered.
This is, of course, particularly important for any as-a-service based business. If your customer fails to achieve the outcomes they were expecting, chances are they will not renew. And if they fail to renew, your chances of ever making a profit are vanishingly small.
How can sales organisations embrace customer-outcome-centric thinking? They must start by breaking down the silos between marketing, business development, sales, implementation and customer success, and accept that the customer does not recognise nor appreciate these distinctions.
The whole organisation needs to see its role as facilitating the customer’s end-to-end buying decision and value realisation journey. And every “sales” cycle needs to start by establishing and – wherever possible – influencing the outcomes the prospective customer is seeking to achieve and understanding why those outcomes are important to them.