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Topics Covered: <a href='/resources/search/?query=economic buyer'>economic buyer</a> | <a href='/resources/search/?query=complex sales'>complex sales</a> | <a href='/resources/search/?query=capturing sales value'>capturing sales value</a> | <a href='/resources/search/?query=transactional buying process'>transactional buying process</a> | <a href='/resources/search/?query=value creation'>value creation</a> | <a href='/resources/search/?query=prospective clients'>prospective clients</a> | <a href='/resources/search/?query=Sales process'>Sales process</a> | <a href='/resources/search/?query=buyers process'>buyers process</a>
Sales Strategy
May 19, 2014 | S. Anthony Iannarino lock

Mistakenly, some salespeople (and sales organizations) believe that their buyer’s process is actually their sales process. Nothing could be further from the truth. Some of their prospective clients have a buying process that is inherently transactional—and inherently bad for value creation.

Choosing the Buyer’s Process

The buying company determines what they need on their own. Then they develop their own idea of what a solution should look like. After they’ve done this work, they ask the salesperson to respond to a request for a proposal. The buying company evaluate the bids, often selecting the lowest bidder, and then they make a purchase.

This process eliminates the ability for a salesperson or sales organization to create value for that buyer. By doing so, the purchase is “arm’s-length” and transactional.

This is not a sales process. It’s not. It’s a buying process.

Choosing a Value Creating Sales Process

The sales process begins when a salesperson helps their client discover and determine their needs together. This is part of what a salesperson does to create value. The salesperson then helps their client develop an effective solution, creating even more value. In a larger, more complex sale, the salesperson works inside the organization to help build consensus around that solution. This creates a tremendous amount of value for the salesperson’s prospective client.

If the buyer does evaluate options, and many times when you follow a process like this is that they don’t, by creating value the salesperson has positioned themselves to win the opportunity. If it ever goes to purchasing or a pure economic buyer, the salesperson has the ability to combat a pure price discussion by leaning on the value that they created throughout the process.

This is a sales process.

The Difference Is the Difference

By mistakenly believing that a buying process—especially a transactional buying process—is a sales process, the sales organization and salespeople who subscribe to this belief end up competing on price in what is a pure transactional purchase. By believing that the buying process is a sales process the salesperson eliminates their ability to create value as well as any opportunity to capture value.

As it turns out, you cannot capture value unless you create value first.

The right answer is to push very hard to follow a sales process that allows you to create value instead of following the buyer process that eliminates the ability to create value.


How does a transactional buying process destroy value creation?
What is the difference between a buying process and a sales process?
How does following your process allow you to create value?
How does your process allow you to capture the value you need to deliver?

About the Author
Anthony Iannarino is the President and Chief Sales officer for SOLUTIONS Staffing, a best-in-class regional staffing service based in Columbus, Ohio. He is also the Managing Director of B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy, a boutique sales coaching and consulting company where he works to help salespeople and sales organizations improve and reach their full potential.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are strictly those of the author. CPSA does not endorse any of the companies, products and services mentioned within this article.

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