Geoffrey Moore has written several books on product life cycles and when different types of companies are likely to buy.
- Early market buyers comprise about 15% of a buying population. These companies want to be on the cutting edge of technology and can endure product pitches, determine how they can use offerings and make quick decisions. They don’t need a long list of references, reassurance nor much help from sellers. They buy quickly. If offerings fail to meet expectations, they view it as a cost of doing business and are onto the next offering.
- 85% are mainstream market buyers comprised of the early majority, late majority and laggards. They buy only after offerings have received market acceptance. They are cautious in wanting to avoid making mistakes so that “no decision” is a common outcome of their long buying cycles. Unlike early market buyers, product pitches will fall on deaf ears. This amounts to inept sellers calling on buyers that don’t understand how offerings can be used
Selling to Mainstream Market
A survey by Sales Benchmark Index found 87% of sellers are B and C Players. If you do the math (.85 late market) x (87% B/C Players), you realize:
74% of the time you have sellers leading with product to buyers that are unable to see usage and value.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that after exhausting early market buyers many companies struggle to get their share of the mainstream market business. In a single word the difference between A vs. B/C Players is patience.
A Players uncover desired business outcomes, help buyers understand the barriers to achieving them by doing a diagnosis and then present only relevant capabilities that address the barriers.
Companies that codify and teach B/C Players to emulate calls A Players make can increase and accelerate revenue from the mainstream market. It amounts to migrating sellers from product to business outcome sales.