Traditional go-to-market strategies are no longer working in today’s digital-first world. In this free course from Acceleration Economy Advisory Services, Acceleration Economy practitioner analysts Tony Uphoff and Scott Vaughn discuss the disconnect between today’s buyers and sellers and how to get this critical business relationship unstuck.
In this first part of our free three-part course, Tony and Scott explain how and why the business technology purchase process has changed so profoundly.
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01:01 — Tony says it’s getting harder to find, reach, engage, and sell to prospects and customers. Indecision is a growing problem among buyer groups, particularly for expensive, considered purchases like technology.
02:21 — One factor in this indecision is how quickly markets are moving and changing, Scott says. Imagine you spent $5 million or $7 million on a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform in late 2022. But four months later, generative artificial intelligence (AI) comes out, and all the ERP providers now have an AI feature that you want.
03:12 —Because of the complexity and the speed of the market, the executive buying committee must digest and synthesize information, make decisions, get approvals, go through procurement, and get security checks. A lot of mistakes can be made in this process, Scott says, and fear of messing up creates indecision.
04:35 — Buyers also want a self-serve buying experience, where they can do research on their own terms before talking to a company. Before a buyer reaches out to a salesperson, 75%-80% of the process is done. So now the seller is really struggling.
05:35 — The executive buying committee is getting more crowded, says Tony. Technology has shifted from a back-office function to the frontlines of revenue growth. Now people who are not technical and never weighed in on technology purchases before are involved in decision-making.
07:20 — Because the executive buying committee now includes representatives from non-technical functions, Scott says, the salesperson must be able to educate all of them. Sellers are comfortable talking about their product with the technology leader, but they may be less skilled in talking to the general manager, procurement, information security, or the line of business leader who will be dealing with the application.
09:16 — The digital-first world is more than disruption — it’s tension, Scott says. New AI capabilities and expectations are creating a scattershot approach, where everyone is doing research to determine the company’s AI strategy. “The sellers are trying to come up to speed on their own AI strategy and their own AI knowledge, the buyers are doing the same, and that’s where the tension comes in.”
10:20 — This may cause a sales rep to feel backed into a corner, Tony says. They might say, “Well, of course, we’re examining AI, we’re taking a close look at adding AI functionality to this ERP system.”
This opening segment of Acceleration Economy’s free course about today’s go-to-market strategy will help buyers and sellers create productive partnerships. In the second part of this three-part series, Tony and Scott will focus on how business and tech leaders can navigate complexity and make smarter decisions.