Business-to-Business buyer/seller relationships vary widely. The Software-as-a-Service space is no exception. Mature products, such as common software applications, are purchased online without human engagement. More complex software applications, such as accounting or CRM solutions, require a range of discussions to determine needs and customization. Still others, new, innovative solutions or game-changing, disruptive technologies require an investment in communication and education with multiple teams and executives prior to any purchase.

In retail automotive, it seems that every SaaS purchase requires discussion and customization. At the very least, integration capabilities and OEM preferences must be researched and vetted prior to purchase.

It is common to hear buyers describe the behavior of some vendors as self-serving or even predatory. These sellers oversell capabilities, “drop in” the dealership when a contract is up for renewal, or call when they notice a lack of product logins and engagement. These sellers give the impression they don’t really care about how the solution is performing in the dealership, just that it remains installed. 

Whether the seller is unhooking an existing solution or trying to sell an innovative technology, by implementing a few inter-departmental planning and processes, leaders can establish excellent customer relationships and prevent creating a bad reputation.

Before we get to the processes, there are a few principles to cover.

  1. Buyers are human. They have the same reasons to buy a product for their business as for their home. Does it reduce cost? Save time? Improve their department’s performance? Make sure you know your unique value proposition before calling them.
  2. Buyers are busy. They need to have a reason to meet with you before you schedule the meeting. Unannounced visits will rarely distract a buyer from their current challenge to want to buy your product. If you do drop in, do it only to schedule a face-to-face meeting.

The processes are not limited to the Sales team. In order to fully deliver the Partnership Promise, multiple teams and leaders must work together. In Part 2, we will cover the processes to enable partnership success.

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