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The Buyer's Quest for Prescriptive Sales

The Buyer's Quest For Prescriptive Sales

The New Sales Imperative: Changing the Paradigm 

In this blog, I usually call fellow procurement colleagues to embrace an Agile mindset, open themselves up to suppliers with trust and transparency, and proactively seek value generation opportunities.

Suddenly, the article "The New Sales Imperative" in Harvard Business Review unlocked a different view of buying. I realized procurement shouldn't be alone on the journey to Industry 4.0. 

As in procurement, salespeople should change their B2B economic exchange paradigm. 

This post seeks their attention and support to stand alongside ourselves in responding to the new world's challenges.  

The buyer's challenges with descriptive sales

So, as the HBR article suggests, buyers are uncertain and stressed. 

Typically, we lack time and resources to properly analyze the information, bend under the pressure of multitasking, and suffer from anxiety caused by post-purchase accountability.

While we struggle to cope with our internal demons, salespeople don't make our life any easier. 
  • They provide lumpsum offers for the things we have no idea about.   
  • They create their own pricing metrics (e.g., FSE instead of FTE), pretending we should understand that naturally.
  • They don't bother to explain our customer journey throwing us straight into the deal-making stage.
  • They team up with end-users to mount the pressure and increase our anxiety even further.
  • Eventually, they overwhelm customers with information, which totally derails them and makes running in every possible direction, searching for a sole version of the truth. 
All of that is called descriptive selling.

Prescriptive sales to bridge the gap between suppliers and customers

We already covered the topic of reverse marketing, which transforms procurement from a transactional sweatshop into a proactive business-driven strategic function.

Similarly, suppliers must bridge the gap by walking in the buyer's shoes and exercising prescriptive selling.

The bare minimum wishlist could be as simple as
  • explaining the customer journey and handholding us throughout it;
  • providing relevant information for the dedicated decision support;
  • limiting the commercial efforts within the realms of the cross-functional sourcing team (and for God's sake, please stop upselling to execs!!!);
  • helping us pass by corporate gatekeepers with valuable references, business case support, and data mining. 
Indeed, suppliers are instrumental to procurement agility with innovation and value delivery. 

The first step together on this road should be changing the paradigm of traditional sales vs. procurement encounters and helping each other become informed, decisive, and free from anxiety.    

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More information on this and other exciting topics can be found in "The Technology Procurement Handbook." It represents 23 years of experience, billions of dollars worth of successful sourcing projects, and 1000s of hours spent on research, analysis, and content creation for the most demanding professional readers.

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This post first appeared on The Good Spending, please read the originial post: here

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The Buyer's Quest for Prescriptive Sales