What’s wrong with this scenario?:
Though simplified, this is a typical scenario. Sales people enjoy working with the people who initiate contact and demonstrate significant interest in their solutions. What many sales people fail to realize is that the implementation of a solution must come out of someone’s budget. That person is the Economic Buyer.
Users of the solution will care about how the solution will affect their day-to-day operations and how easy or difficult this solution will be to use. The Technical Buyer will care about how the solution will comply with their technical standards and how well it will integrate into their existing environment. These users can’t say an authoritative yes to a solution. They can only say no. It is the Economic Buyer who must decide if the solution is the best use of the available funds. The Economic Buyer is not just concerned about the best alternative within a set of competing solutions, he or she is concerned about whether the money requested could be better utilized somewhere else. The Economic Buyer must decide between competing strategic priorities. It is only the Economic Buyer that can say an authoritative YES.
Engaging a lead that clearly has a need for your solution is not enough. Covering all the other stakeholders is not enough. For sales people to be effective, ultimately, they must engage the Economic Buyer. One of the first questions an effective sales person must ask is, “Whose budget will pay for this initiative?” Once the Economic Buyer is identified, it is critical to get in front of this person to understand their strategic objectives, as well as their expectations of this particular initiative (in terms of outcomes and return on investment).
The Economic Buyer is the real customer. Unless the Economic Buyer’s expectations are successfully met, sales people will be spinning their wheels chasing projects which look promising, but which were never real.