Communications service providers (CSPs) face so many hurdles bringing in new customers, it’s easy to overlook the challenges they must overcome when considering a significant business solution purchase that may impact every facet of their organization.
These seven obstacles, in particular, frequently stand in the way of businesses making a key B2B purchase, derailing efforts at every phase of the buyer’s journey. Keep them in mind when working with prospective customers and guiding them through the decision-making process.
1. Convincing others that change is necessary
Sales teams spend a great deal of time making the case for their products and services, and showing prospects how those solutions can address whatever problems they face. Assuming you’ve won over your main point of contact, that individual still needs to convince internal stakeholders to make a change.
This can often be an uphill battle, especially if a new business purchase is perceived to be costly and disruptive to normal operations. In fact, Richardson’s “2019 Selling Challenges Study” found that this was the no. 1 challenge preventing potential customers from buying B2B solutions. Decision-makers and influencers may be OK with current conditions, even if they are not realizing the full potential of their organization.
Sales teams need to not only win over their prospects, but provide them with the information required to convince other people in their organization as well.
2. Vetting available options
Purchasing decisions can get easily sidelined during the vetting process, as organizations spend an enormous amount of time comparing different vendors and offerings. Considering the high stakes of many B2B purchases, it’s no surprise that buyers can sometimes feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of options available and fall into decision paralysis.
According to Richardson, 21% of buyers view solution vetting as the biggest challenge to making a business purchase. For solution providers, this is one of the most critical phases of the sales cycle. They need to distinguish themselves from the competition, highlighting strengths and value adds that other vendors lack.
It’s also advantageous to try and guide prospects through this process, even if only through subtle means. Influencing leads about what factors to prioritize can help them put more value in your strengths while minimizing the perceived impact of any shortcomings your organization has.
3. Challenging the status quo
As previously noted, convincing internal stakeholders to make a significant business solution purchase can be difficult. The more entrenched teams are in their existing workflows and processes, the more challenging it will be to get them onboard.
Some departments have a reputation for being especially resistant to change. IT departments, for instance, may push back on anything that challenges the status quo because systems and processes have often been in place for a very long time. Altering those environments could have far-reaching effects across the organization and disrupt normal daily workflows.
Sales teams should be prepared for that kind of reaction. Understanding how different stakeholders will likely respond to your approach will give you the insight needed to craft a more convincing business pitch.
4. Getting organizational buy-in
There are a lot of stakeholders who may need to sign off on a business expenditure, and getting every person’s support isn’t always easy. That’s particularly true if certain teams or departments either don’t see the value in a new method or believe they will be adversely affected by it.
Considering many business solutions can impact entire companies, it’s critical that prospects get complete organizational buy-in. Sales professionals can help win over skeptical stakeholders by showing how each department will benefit from their offerings and face fewer headaches in their day-to-day tasks and responsibilities.
5. Making room in the budget
Even after gaining the full support of your prospects and their co-workers, you might find that there just isn’t room in their company budget for an additional expenditure. From the customer’s side, there isn’t much they can do beyond trying to find other areas that can be scaled back or eliminated to make space in the budget.
Building a compelling business case is imperative to securing a place in an organization’s tight budget.
Your solution’s business case should address:
- What problem it solves.
- What it costs.
- How it compares to alternatives.
- When it will drive revenue or add value.
- How and when it will save time and money.
You can also work with prospective customers on flexible payment options, discounts and other means to reduce their cost of entry. And when feasible, emphasizing a risk-free guarantee may alleviate apprehension as well.
6. Winning over decision-makers
At the end of the day, organizational leadership will need to sign off on any new B2B purchase, and if they’re not convinced it’s the right move, the deal will fall through. Highlighting the higher-level business benefits of your solution can help sway C-level executives and show them the value of your offerings. Focus on their business goals to better align your services with their most-pressing needs.
7. Addressing risk mitigation
Businesses are, by and large, fairly risk-averse. Often, company leaders will choose to keep doing what they’ve always done, even if it produces diminishing results. CSPs, in particular, may find themselves running into hurdles involving risk mitigation because their potential solutions typically replace services that are critical to business operations. Organizations simply cannot function without their operations and network services, and may be hesitant to make any significant changes to their setup.
The best way to overcome such challenges is to highlight the risk inherent in complacency:
- Relying on outdated technology and services because a better method could be disruptive creates an enormous amount of risk.
- Organizations could be more vulnerable to performance issues and unreliable service.
- They might not have the resources or flexibility to expand their business into new markets.
- They may be spending considerably more money supporting and maintaining legacy solutions than they would with new platforms, systems and network services.
Making that case convincingly will help win over skeptics and remove the last hurdle to conversion.
It’s always important to consider the challenges your prospects face when evaluating a major business purchase. There are a number of stakeholders who need to sign off on any investment, and helping them make a better case for your solutions will pave the way for increased sales and revenue.
Working with an experienced industry veteran such as IDI Billing Solutions can help CSPs overcome these various obstacles during the purchase cycle of a comprehensive billing, automation and workflow solution. IDI can act as the prospect’s coach and advocate, helping them win the support of key internal stakeholders who have the most say in the decision. IDI assists potential customers through every stage of the buyer’s journey, making it as easy and seamless as possible.