“If you listen intently the buyer will tell you exactly and precisely how they buy. How you win.” – The Tarnoff Principle
I have been working in human capital management (HCM) for more than four decades. At different times I have been in sales, marketing, general management and most recently customer success. Working in one discipline for this long has resulted in enough HCM industry knowledge to foster a new perspective about sales and marketing and how buyers make purchasing decisions.
Today, savvy consumers in the market for any product leverage the Internet and social media to make sure they are buying the right product for the right solution from the best potential partner. Consider your most recent purchase of a car. If you’re like millions of other Americans you may have worked with a sales person, but only after you spent evenings and weekends on the Internet, reading reviews, researching makes, models, standard equipment, comparing prices, manufacturers, dealerships and more. And you most likely reached out to your peers, who have purchased the same car, to learn about their perspectives.
Consumers in the B2B marketplace purchase HCM solutions the way they purchase other products and services. Said another way, historical marketing methodologies and traditional sales processes are dead. The new sales and marketing approach can best be described as The Buyer’s Journey, a dramatic change in how companies acquire. In fact, the change is so foundational it is no longer referenced as the sales process; smart sellers understand it as the buying process.
Today, smart companies are leveraging the internet and social media to facilitate information clearinghouses in which the customers of their products and services can freely express their perspectives and – in the best instances – become advocates for that company and what it sells. These peer-to-peer customer sites recognize the value of social proof – the importance of the experiences and perspectives of peers they trust and respect. The Buyer’s Journey is fueled by the words of its advocates on the Internet and through direct contact.
Today’s savvy sales and marketing professionals are using their knowledge of The Buyer’s Journey to create tools, resources and platforms that support their customers engaging with each other.
In my next post, I will share some additional information about the kinds of Buyer’s Journey tools some companies are starting to create.
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Howard Tarnoff is Senior Vice President for Ceridian HCM, responsible for launching and overseeing the Award Winning Customer Success Program “XOXO” and other initiatives. With over 30 years of HCM experience, Howard is a highly sought after thought leader in the industry, especially for his insightful trend analysis. His deep domain expertise across multiple verticals, leadership experience and deep understanding of the HCM industry make him an invaluable asset to Ceridian. Follow him on Twitter @htarnoff.