The Golden Rule of Buying Behavior

When it comes to early stage marketing and sales, Jesus might have said “Market and sell unto others as you would have others market and sell unto you.”  (The golden rule has been framed by most major religions, I just happen to know Christianity best.)

One way to evaluate the effectiveness of your sales and marketing effort is is to ask yourself:  “Does my marketing and sales program map to the way I buy complex software or services?”   More basically, ask yourself:  “What is my buying behavior/process with respect to complex software and services?”

How You Make a Purchase

Likely, you:

  1. Address a problem  on your own time and terms – no fast talking sales guy is going to change this.
  2. Take time to educate yourself.  In fact, in general, take time to address a problem.
  3. Seek out providers that are credible (i.e. understand your needs, pain) and referencable.
  4. Look for a way to “try before you buy.” Or run a pilot of the tool.
  5. Are as or more concerned about the difficulty of change management as you are about cost.  Offering you the application for free isn’t going speed up your decision making process.
  6. Need to build consensus, get buy-in from your team to adopt the technology in question.
  7. Are not swayed much by folks that talk loudly and persistently.
  8. Develop relationships of trust slowly.

Buying Behavior

If your buying behavior does not hew to most of these criteria, you are very, very unusual.   Your sales team will not be able to find enough buyers like you alone to build a sizable pipeline.

Tailoring your marketing and sales efforts to map to these criteria and manage your investor’s, board’s and senior management’s expectations to these, you are likely to have a much happier, much more tightly aligned crew all around.

Of course, as a visionary, early stage technology leader, you are selling the future, selling a vision, so you need be somewhat ahead of the curve.  Just don’t get so far out in front of things that you build in impossible-to-meet marketing and sales targets that disappoint your investors and disillusion your management and sales team.

There is another golden rule which goes something like: “He who has the gold, makes the rules.” but we’ll have to address that rule in another blog post.

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