Are Buyers and Sellers Really on the Same Page?


You know the song ‘you say tomato, I say tomatoe – let’s call the whole thing off!’.  Well buyers sometimes feel that way when dealing with salespeople.
For example, when it comes to looking at orders and how they are won, there is a fundamental duality between vendors and buyers.  Here is why:
Vendors are concerned with:
Proposals
Negotiation
Closing
Getting the deal is the objective!
Buyers are concerned with:
Costs
Benefits
Risks / constraints
The objective is to establish the business case and correspondingly to make the right decision.
One consequence is that vendors enter negotiations that focus on costs, without considering the vital costs -benefits – risks equation that drives buyers.  Another is that sellers write proposals that don’t reflect the information that buyers must present in order to get the purchase approved.  Take for example the structure of the typical vendor proposal, compared to the structure of the buyer’s business case, or purchase approvals document.
Vendor Proposal
Introduction
Problem
Solution
Benefits & Features
Cost
Team, Company & Credentials
Buyer’s Business Case
Introduction
Strategic rationale
Alternatives:
Costs
Benefits
Risks & Constraints
Recommendation
Implementation
Why is this important?  Well, as we have discussed in many articles, managers must now present a business case for purchases of as little as 10,000 or 20,000 euro.
Let’s take this further and look at some of the headings and terms buyers are likely use in writing a business case – taking the guidelines for seeking central funding for UK road projects:

Current situation
Future situation
Scope
Problems
Objectives
Targets
Exclusions
Risks
Tolerances
Assumptions
Actors / stakeholders
Assessment of alternatives
Sensitivity analyses
Consultation & participation
Option Testing
Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR)
Non-monetised impacts
Cost estimate robustness
Project Plan
Constraints
Deliverables

The question is how widely used are terms, such as; risks, benefit-cost ratio, stakeholders, assessment of alternatives, etc.  in sales proposals?  Well, the reality is not very common.    The leads to the question – how valuable is the content of the sales person’s proposal in helping the buyer in getting projects approved and building the business case?    Again the answer is not as helpful as they could be.  For those salespeople who recognize the importance of this issue, there is a real opportunity to improve win rates and success.

Posted by Ray Collis on 3:30 pm. Filed under Business Case. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

1 Comment for “Are Buyers and Sellers Really on the Same Page?”

  1. Hello This is a great blog keep your good work and thank you for hvar in with me So nice to hear frome you.Thanks!

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