Buyer Evaluation Process: What Every Sales & Marketing Leader Needs to Know
Knowing your buyer’s evaluation process is one of the most critical elements to include in the sales strategy. Having this knowledge is critical to not only the sales rep’s success but also can serve as a roadmap for the marketing team to create sales and promotional collateral. These events can turn future sales opportunities into revenue growth.
Here are two key questions sales and marketing leaders should answer about how buyer’s conduct their evaluation process:
1. What is the buyer’s evaluation process?
At even its most basic level, a buyer’s evaluation process details the management approach and acquisition model for a specific program or procurement. It describes the project manager’s plan to achieve business goals and summarizes the program planning and resulting program structure. It includes cost, schedule, and system performance trade-offs that may also be required.
Here’s what one vendor said about their evaluation process:
“We started in March. We have a person here who is responsible for searching out vendors and organizing the logistics of bringing them here to do presentations. There were a couple people involved in that process. After the market research was complete, a large team of 20 to 25 people participated in the market research evaluations. After that part was done, a smaller team was working specifically with the sandboxes. Because of sandbox testing, we had a few more discussions. Everyone provided feedback on how well the system performed, and we decided. It went from March to October, about six months.”
Analyst for a government organization evaluating a software solution
2. Who is the decision maker?
Usually in enterprise-level evaluations and RFPs, before the release of a solicitation, the decision maker approves the evaluation strategy. The evaluation strategy allows senior leadership and the decision maker to assess whether the strategy makes good business sense and reflects management’s priorities. Approval usually precedes each decision point, except at the evaluation initiation, when the acquisition strategy is usually approved as part of the decision maker’s review. (For best practices on writing winning responses to RFPs, check out this eBook.)
Check out what this procurement manager said about their approval process:
“We had a small team go through our requirements and evaluate the offer versus the requirements we had. Once we had a recommendation, we presented that to our leadership team for approval to proceed.”
Procurement manager for a retail company evaluating a payroll solution
Best Practices for Sales & Marketing Leaders
Additionally, an evaluation process gives insight into the business, technical overview and strategies that will help manage both program risks and meet program objectives. It includes multiple components that create the overall strategy that both buyer and seller rely on to successfully partner and deliver results.
Developing a Sales Strategy
When developing a sales strategy, sales and marketing leaders should focus on questions such as:
- What are the buyer’s strategic needs and objectives?
- Which parameters and priorities do they need to establish for the program?
- Do you know the operational costs associated with this evaluation?
- How much time will the buyer need to ensure results?
These are some of the basics on the evaluation process to give you a jumpstart on planning a successful approach for your business. Getting to know and understand the terminology, the processes and requirements is essential in developing a successful plan as you pursue your next sales opportunity.
Appropriate Planning is Paramount for Sales & Marketing
Appropriate planning is paramount for your sales and marketing teams. Win loss analysis is a tool to identify capabilities within the market to satisfy the buyer’s needs and is key in determining whether your solution is effectively meeting those needs. You’ll learn about who influences in the evaluation process and who designs the evaluation strategy. You’ll also identify the evaluation criteria which influence the overall evaluation process. Thorough and complete win loss analysis is the foundation toward meeting the buyer’s needs. As an effective part of your research, exchanging information with your sales and marketing teams and the buyer’s key players will improve understanding of the buyer’s requirements and capabilities. This increases your chances of selection – your ultimate goal!