When Do Executives Buy?

by | Oct 5, 2011 | Sales Strategy

When do the C-level executives make the decision to buy? When they believe that your solution brings new “opportunity” to their company. Most executives are decisive. They evaluate their decisions based on specific parameters; is this offer going to be of benefit to the company in the form of opportunities to; increase revenue, decrease expenses, improve productivity, better service, increase market share and their competitive position and what can it do for the employees. The bottom line is this- will the results of your solution lead to growth? Executives care about the benefits-what can this do to improve my company’s ability to achieve its goals and grow? Executives must clearly see the reality of these benefits coming to fruition in the expected timeframe. In other words when executives make decisions to purchase a solution they must evaluate the risk involved. Let’s look at 3 factors executives consider when evaluating a solution.

#1 Financial Impact:
One of the key metrics executives look at is the return on the investment (ROI). Executives will analyze to determine if we make this investment for “X” amount of dollars what will be the return. How long will it take to pay back the dollar investment and what will be the realistic growth as time goes on. No one invests in a product or service that does not have a strong ROI. The executive will always have the CFO or someone in the finance organization run the numbers on the investment.

#2 Productivity, Efficiency and Effectiveness:
What will the solution do for the productivity, efficiency and effectiveness of your culture and your operations? If you were an executive evaluating a Customer Relationship Management software package, think about the criteria you would use to make a decision. Would it be easy to implement-first and foremost? Would people not only be able to easily learn the system, would they use it? Next, what will the system do for reporting key information to upper management? Will we be able to communicate more effectively with customers? Would we be able to evaluate the sales pipeline for reality? Will the system free up time for sales and sale support to get more face time with customers? These are some of the issues executives will consider in the evaluation. It all gets back to a return for the investment. Will you improve your operation with this investment?

#3 Competition
Will this investment improve our offerings so we can increase market share and our competitive position? This depends on the type of company you are working with. Are they product and innovation intensive, or are they service intensive. Every executive is concerned about improving their competitive position which is directly proportional to corporate growth. How can your solution position them for growth? Showing the executive results that another customer achieved is one of the best ways to show how they can succeed, especially if that customer is in the same industry. Testimonials are powerful and of the upmost importance; proving you can do what you say minimizes the risk.

Executives will evaluate your solution based on:

1. The ROI they can achieve
2. How it can improve productivity, efficiency and effectiveness
3. Whether it will improve their competitive position

When they see these three criteria in a positive light, the risk of buying from you will be minimized. Make sure that your solutions can stand up to this level of evaluation. If you do, you may earn the privilege described in this scenario: many years ago the saying was, “no one ever got fired for making a decision to go with IBM”. Can your company say the same?