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Customer Dysfunction and Its Effects In Today’s Sales

I read an interesting article on LinkedIn the other day titled, “The New Normal in Sales: Customer Dysfunction” by Nick Toman, a sales effectiveness professional. The gist is buying processes are increasing at an alarming rate, and it is the dysfunction at the customer that drives this and “poor” sales outcomes.

I thought about this for a while, and related it to my post, “We Appreciate Everyone Except Our Vendors, and It’s Killing Sales”. Toman’s article provides a perspective at the customer and the ailments killing sales.

A few take-aways from Toman’s article that I’ve noticed over the last year in modern B2B sales:
  • 2.5 years ago, the buyer group consisted of 5.4 stakeholders. Today, that number is 6.8 from 3.4 different functional areas. When you add heads into the buying process, there’s an expectation of a need to get consensus which, ironically, is the result of indecision due to more heads.
  • Customers citing high amounts of dysfunction are 60% less likely to make an ambitious purchase (vs. lower dysfunction companies). This leads to customers buying very simple, bare minimum purchases to assuage the consensus.
  • The average purchase decision takes 4.9 months while the average “no purchase” decision takes 4.7. There’s so much dysfunction that getting any type agreement (go or no-go) is virtually the same. No wonder prospects go radio silent before any feedback.
A few keys then arise from these thoughts. First, be prepared for the long haul and the difficulty of today’s sales. Second, nail the value prop as quick as possible with a very specific target group. Third, reduce the consensus. Get the sale. Expand later.

Remember, all it takes is one opponent (negative feedback) to derail a whole sale.

What are your thoughts? What have you noticed in today’s sales? How would you address the challenges?

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