In the B2B world, those committees responsible for making large purchases have recently been undergoing a steady increase in size, which makes an agreement on potential purchases much more difficult to achieve. Purchasing committees which only recently were comprised of an average of 5.4 individuals, are now as large as 6.8 individuals, and to make matters worse, their responsibilities encompass at least 3.4 functions on average.
While this may be a very detailed way of looking at purchasing committees and what they are charged with, the underlying point is that it’s getting harder to sell to purchasing committees because of their numbers, and because of their increased responsibilities. If this doesn’t sound unduly alarming to you, consider the fact that the potential for getting a favorable decision from any purchasing group decreases dramatically with the addition of even one member.
That means every time another member joins the purchasing team, the odds of receiving a favorable purchasing decision diminish even more. Even worse, the larger the buying committee is, the more drawn out and argumentative become the discussions revolving around the decision. It’s not uncommon for purchasing committees like these to be paralyzed by indecision and actually reach no decision at all, which in effect, pretty much wastes all the time invested by a seller trying to convince them.
From the standpoint of the seller then, the important issue becomes trying to identify exactly what it is that triggers this analysis paralysis in a purchasing committee, and then formulating a strategy which attempts to overcome it. As an example, it may be possible to invite the committee to a workshop where all aspects of the proposal can be considered or to provide them with some kind of decision analysis tool which will help in the decision-making process. Better still would be to create a customer journey video.
Customer Journey Components
The two indispensable elements of creating a customer journey video are storytelling and visualization. These are considered powerful elements because they help to convey information in a way which is at once memorable and concise, and which tends to create a shared vision of some goal or destination.
Creating a shared vision is absolutely critical because it will impact a purchasing committee to pull them together rather than to create disunity or promote any kind of disagreement on the team. The whole point is to create a holistic view of the general customer experience, especially for those representatives of a company responsible for making purchases.
The process of bringing together members who may have their own strong feelings and reservations about a given product or issue can use engagement to overcome all those personal feelings and potential sticking points. A really well-made customer journey video can smooth over the objections of purchasing committee members and replace it with a spirit of collaboration and cooperation.
The specific points to include in any really good customer journey video are the following: point of view, specific experience, actions and emotions, touch points, and insights. The point of view relates to the hero of the story and what his/her journey is about, and the specific experience describes a scenario which is the journey itself.
Actions and emotions are at the heart of the journey, and they are intended to establish a connection to the viewer, which means they have to be based on solid research and understanding. Touchpoints are those individual points of connection which the hero makes with the viewing audience, and insights are intended to be discoveries which can help the viewer achieve their goals or objectives.
Creating a Customer Journey Videos
One of the problems which may add to the paralysis of a purchasing committee is the tremendous amount of information which they receive from vendors who are trying to persuade them to make a purchase. This makes it crucial that a vendor’s company have the capability of preparing a video which includes content that simplifies and clarifies any proposal for selling goods.
It’s also important to have this information designed in such a way that it can be easily consumed by a purchasing committee with minimal contention between members and that the information is deployed in a manner which is easy to access and easy to consume.
This is a little different than most videos being prepared today, which focus on highlighting the features of a product and how they solve a need for potential customers. So, it’s quite a departure to be thinking in terms of producing a video that’s intended to resolve an internal conflict among committee members. Yet this can be one of the most powerful ways of breaking a logjam in a purchasing committee and freeing up the decision-making process.
The key to any good video storytelling production is to demonstrate the hero’s journey in order to arrive at an intended destination or to achieve any intended objective. By preparing a video which makes it possible for purchasing committee members to see themselves in the hero’s role in overcoming obstacles, it can help a great deal in creating team unity and agreement. A second key component of preparing the customer journey type of video is to consider in advance what any potential sources of disagreement might be and then dealing with each one of those objections individually and convincingly.