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Understanding Selling Challenges in 2017: Buyers' Decisions Insights

Richardson’s annual research survey of field reps, senior sales professionals, and sales leaders across industries aims to paint a clear picture of existing sales challenges and how they are evolving.

We asked 350 sales professionals to tell us about the biggest challenges their buyers face when making purchasing decisions.

  • 26% said combating the status quo would be the greatest challenge their buyers face making purchasing decisions in 2017
  • 21% said comparing their options would be the greatest challenge their buyers face making purchasing decisions in 2017
  • 16% said building internal consensus would be the greatest challenge their buyers face making purchasing decisions in 2017

Buyers can be too comfortable with the status quo, adverse to the risk of something new and hesitant to stretch outside of their current comfort zones. They may be tired of change or skeptical. Even those who welcome change may feel degrees of concern, stress, or anxiety.

Comparing options is made increasingly complex with the more information there is to consider. When sellers present something that buyers consider irrelevant or not tied to their specific issues, it only adds to the noise in decision making.

With more decisions being made by committee, building internal consensus grows more difficult. Sellers who engage all stakeholders, providing relevant insights and demonstrating value, can help move the process along.

Richardson’s Insights into Buyers’ Decisions 

Creating a compelling case to combat the status quo doesn’t just mean sharing impact data. As mentioned earlier, impact shared must be specific and relevant to your buyer. To combat the buyer’s status quo, sellers should highlight the loss or risk associated with not changing. Address missed opportunity costs — the benefits unrealized — by staying put, and outline a clear path forward to make the change decision easier to make.

Remember, buying is an emotional process. Don’t forget to highlight the opportunities and potential for your buyer as well.

Help buyers compare options by presenting personalized insights, information, and perspective based on credible research or relevant experiences. Avoid overwhelming buyers with too much (and irrelevant) information.

Sellers cannot rely solely on an individual buyer — their initial contact — to build internal consensus for their solution. Sellers need to consider all stakeholders and the lens each one uses to view value: financial, technical, strategic, or partnership. The preferred lens is often reflected in the questions they ask, and sellers should position the solution to resonate with individual stakeholders and their value lenses. Sellers can also support their contacts by providing additional materials, working alongside them, and building their own relationships with stakeholders.

About the Author

As Richardson’s Chief Marketing Officer, Andrea is responsible for demand generation and value creation through strategic marketing, brand awareness, digital optimization, product launch initiatives, and market-facing thought leadership to drive sustained, organic growth. With a passion for sales and customer-centric activity, Andrea and her team work to inspire customers across the engagement lifecycle and support them in their journey to market leadership by delivering fresh perspectives to their sales challenges.

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