Building the buyer enablement community

Building the buyer enablement community

This piece was first published in May 2015 out of frustration about the endless debates going on about Sales versus Marketing, at what point in the buyer journey do they engage with sales etc. Staggeringly, this debate is still going on in mid 2020. So much for new thinking and paradigm shifts.

What if businesses could reorganize themselves – or start from scratch to create an infrastructure fit for today’s (and tomorrow’s) radically changed world?

Where would they start? How would they change to become more effective, ensure better customer service, better go-to-market strategy and tactics, and a smoother sales process?

We know where we’d start

We would create a new environment, a strong, structured, ultimately liberating focal point and a driving force for the entire business to be more effective in the way it engages its buyers. We’d call it the Buyer Enablement Community.

The Buyer Enablement Community would be populated by what used to be called the Marketing Team, the Sales Team, the Customer Services Team and the Innovation Team – amongst others. It would be full of people that had exciting job titles, none of which included the words Marketing or Sales. All these experts would work together – rather than in silos, or against each other, as they often do now.

The Buyer Enablement community’s cohesive, driving focus would be to, well, enable buyers. By that we mean it would single-mindedly understand how buyers, their influencers and consumers should be engaged with – and do it. However long that cycle is. Whatever it requires. Constantly working to the Buyers’ needs.

This may all sound like a pipe dream

But everyone’s talking about how we can remove barriers between sales and marketing, stop the conflict that often emerges between them, and create a more truly customer-centric business. But few are doing it. Instead, they work around the edges – because it’s hard to change the core. So why not just pay lip service to the problem?

We would argue that it’s easier to change that sort of orientation than to continue to absorb the hidden costs of lack of alignment internally – loss of time, opportunity, loss of brand value and eventually, sales and growth. In one stroke you could revolutionize the relationship of the business with the customer.

And you’d focus attention in the right way on the big questions we all face: “Who owns the Customer? Who owns the pipe? What does success look like?”

It would focus with greater clarity and better strategic insight on strategic messaging, customer needs, customer service, sales support, UI and UX design, through to distribution networks, point of sale etc.

It would remove 80% of the current inane questions being debated on Sales, Marketing and Leadership forums.

Inane questions such as, “At what point in the buying cycle does a buyer engage with sales?” or “What is the difference between lead, demand, sales… generation?” or “What part does [insert technology of choice here – eg social media] play in the marketing mix?”

Most of these questions are self-serving nonsense and have had their day in a truly customer-centric business where differences between marketing, sales etc. don’t exist.

Once created, the Buyer Enablement Community could be flexed and focused.

It would be easy to create regional Buyer Enablement Communities with a focus on local Buyer landscapes and enabling regional buyers most effectively, creating new clarity and efficiency in areas with smaller budgets.

The Buyer Enablement Community’s cohesion and strategy-to-tactics focus would deliver greater measurable effect to the business: profitability, shareholder value, reputation, growth.

This would inform the way the entire business, the entire brand, operates and supports itself, its message and ideas, and communications: what we like to call Brand Conduct.

Maybe no-one has yet created a compelling alternative to current business operating procedure. One that supports the need to grow and increase relevance but that also reduces complexity, cost and inefficiency.

But we think a Buyer Enablement Community could achieve all this and reshape the customer experience of the business – the buyer experience of the brand – with minimum fuss, maximum simplicity and speed. If only the will is there.

So who’s going to get there first?

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