The First Step in Transforming the B2B Customer Lifecycle
In a previous post, we outlined the five steps in transforming your customer lifecycle to an outcomes-based approach. Five steps may seem like a lot, but true transformation takes time and requires a stepwise process. Luckily, if you decide to take the plunge, you’ll find that you realize value with each step you take toward becoming an outcomes-based organization. You don’t have to wait to complete all five steps to start seeing results.
Let’s dive into the details of level one–alignment.
The first step en route to achieving measurable outcomes for customers is ensuring that you and your buyer are aligned around a shared definition of success. Every purchase begins with one or more outcomes in mind, but far too often, suppliers focus on how they target and sell instead of how they serve a well understood need. By ignoring the very reason your buyers are coming to you in the first place, you’re creating an unnecessary divide. If you don’t make the connection between your offering and your buyers’ desired outcomes, they will make decisions based on social proof, brand loyalty, or price… and that’s a game you want to avoid.
Level one on the outcomes journey focuses on documenting and validating target outcomes with the buyer as a foundational first step toward both closing a deal, and creating the conditions for a lasting and profitable partnership. When defining outcomes with a potential buyer, ask the following questions.
1. What will change? Describe the business impact you wish to achieve with the help of our offering.
2. By how much? Define the measurable impact you expect to see by entering into a partnership with us.
3. By when? Specify the timeframe within which you expect the change to occur after a purchase has been made.
Their answers can then be organized in the following format. The result is an outcome statement.
For example, a marketing automation vendor who asks potential buyers the series of questions could end up with the following outcome statement.
You’ll likely need to repeat the exercise several times with a number of key stakeholders. After all, your buyers aren’t limited to a single desired outcome. They likely will have several and it’s up to you to document, define, and track each one.
By providing visible proof of your commitment to your buyer’s business goals, you can remove the perception that salespeople make empty promises and start to move deals forward.
How MetaCX Helps
With MetaCX, sales teams can collaborate with prospects in a co-branded digital space called a bridge that allows both parties to document and refine target outcomes and work together on the mutual success plan. Progress on the path to partnership is tracked and celebrated to create trust and transparency, drive conviction and, ultimately, ensure wins.
To help you scale outcomes-based selling and success, MetaCX offers templates which can be tailored to specific use cases and personas. Once you have an understanding of the outcomes specific subsets of your customer base are looking for, you can easily create a bridge with the beginnings of a success plan already started.
Once outcomes have been shared on a bridge, sales teams can measure a prospect’s engagement as a way to improve forecasting. They have visibility into how often prospects are viewing bridges, the timing of their last engagements, and when comments or updates are made to success plans.
As a deal progresses, those in sales can invite onboarding and success teams into the same space to signal post-sale continuity. Having outcomes defined in a single location streamlines the handoffs from sales to implementation and success teams to ensure internal alignment, accelerate time to value for new customers, and lock in future growth.
The Future of B2B
B2B buyers have more options than ever before. This makes it difficult for sellers to stand out, especially in a down economy where constant promotions and severe price cuts flood the market. The only way to cut through the noise is by proving how your products fulfill the needs of your target audience. Outcomes-based selling and success is the only path forward.