It's a bit of a truism that intelligent people make complicated things easily understandable. Moreover, in the enterprise technology world it is also a truism that the solutions being sold are often so complicated that they can become a bit confusing because of their sheer scale, complexity and the number of people required to ensure they function successfully. As such, it's really quite hard to buy & sell in the B2B space.
Indeed, the below Harvard Business Review article cites a number of problems common in large B2B purchasing decisions:
- The number of people involved has increased (5.4 to 6.8).
- Information overload from the ease of access to information twinned with the over-zealous nature of salespeople to inundate their prospects with more & more "relevant" resources.
- Too many options to choose from leaving an endless circle of evaluation and comparisons.
- And my own point... there's just too much short-termism and hype at the next new thing: blockchain, AI, cryptocurrency, Brexit etc.
I could write a lot about this subject but in the interests of staying true to the overall point of this post I will point you to a comment I saw from Kieran Tarrant (Managing Director UK&I at Pegasystems) on LinkedIn: "... we were just discussing this point last week with one of our clients who were fed up with the hype. It is our job to help customers see through the smokescreen."
Business leaders don't want hype. They want business certainty. This is how you should approach all client-related activities.
If you can help your customers see through the hype and paint a vision of business certainty, expertise and trust, then you will be the trusted advisor. Whilst this might not make you front page news, it will deliver long-term growth and leave your customers very happy indeed.
Finally, the expanding range of options that B2B customers face requires increasing amounts of time for evaluation as stakeholders deliberate over the trade-offs. Research shows that for individual consumers, greater choice isn’t necessarily a good thing (see “More Isn’t Always Better,” by Barry Schwartz, HBR, June 2006); the same principle applies to big B2B purchases. No matter the choice, some stakeholders will always find aspects of an alternative more appealing. In addition to slowing the purchase process, an excess of options leads to post-purchase anxiety: “Did we do the right thing? Would another choice have been better?” Our research shows that such second-guessing occurs in more than 40% of completed B2B purchases.