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Sales & Marketing Alignment: Using the Customer Buying Process

The Customer Buying Process can be a bridge that connects the marketing process to the selling process. At its core, the customer buying process is all about anticipating buying conversations and answering 4 questions for each conversation:

  • WHO…the person that you are having a conversation with, their level in the organization, role, and specific responsibilities. Every conversation is unique. For example, a CIO conversation is nothing like a meeting with a CFO, which is completely different from a dialogue with a Line of Business Executive

  • WHEN… addresses where you are in the buying process. For example, what buying milestones have occurred and which remain? Are we early and can still influence requirements? Are we late and the RFP is already in place?

  • WHAT and HOW… the specific buying conversations. What is the customer’s purpose for the meeting? What is the ideal outcome? How should sales lead the conversation? What should they say? What should they ask? What should they show? 


Here is a high level roadmap for how sales and marketing can use the buying process it to bridge the divide.

  • Step 1 Buying Conversation Mapping mapping happens in a meeting with cross-functional stakeholders. The buying process is used to confirm the buying conversations that each stakeholder agrees will happen in most sales cycles.

  • Step 2: Content and Tool Requirements definition of what content and tools the sales channels need for each buying conversation. The content should be focused on what to know, what to say, what to ask, and what to show.

  • Step 3: Content and Tool Development the most critical success factor is joint creation of content by sales, marketing, product experts, and others. Examples might include printed playbooks, summary cards, presentations, iPad apps, whiteboard models, talk tracks and broad range of related messaging tools.

  • Step 4: Distribution & Training identification and agreement on how sales channels will consume the content and align distribution and training with that reality. The goal is to decide when, where and how sales will consume the content and equip them to use it.

  • Step 5: Closed Loop Process a repeatable process that leverages people and technology to find out what and how content is actually being consumed, as well as, how it could it be improved based on sales feedback.

We will continue exploring this topic in our next blog post about Buying Conversation Examples.

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