16 April 2006

Buying Cycle versus Sales Cycle

In TXM, there are 8 steps for external.

1.1) Enquiry / RFI
2.1) Consideration
3.1) Negotiation
4.1) Commit / Repurchase
5.1) Payment
6.1) Delivery
7.1) Post-Purchase Service Request
8.1) Objection - Soft
8.2) Objection - Hard
0.1) Complaint
0.2) Unavailable - Short Term / Long Term
0.3) Referral

Each step is a signal sent from the buyer to the enterprise. Communication is two-way, and requires feedback to complete the loop. Without feedback, it is like self talk, and no action will be put in place. Without action, there would be no results. Without results, there would not be any measurable improvement.

Although 8 steps may seem too complicated, it is an attempt to manage all relevant touchpoints from the buyer's perspective. Why it has to be from the buyer's perspective? It is because buyer is king. As Peter Drucker says, "there is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer."

In order to complete the communication process, and more importantly to create a customer, each step in the buying cycle should be matched with a value-added sales strategy. Below is a brief matching.

Enquiry should be met with fact-finding.
Consideration should be met with probing / demonstration / proposal writing / USP selling.
Negotiation should be met with win-win strategy.

Commit / Repurchase should be met with cross-sell / up-sell / follow-up strategy.

Payment should be met with convenience.
Delivery should be met with ontime delivery and ECR.
Post-Purchase Service Request should be met with prompt follow-up.

Objection should be met with patience.
Complaint should be met with empathy and prompt resolution.
Unavailable should be met with follow-up strategy.
Referral should be met with appreciation and prompt follow-up strategy.

However, there should be a standard touchpoint step (STS) for both external and internal.

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