I witnessed an event , two weeks ago, that I thought I’d share, as it is very relevant to the Buyer Persona.
I had gone to my bank for some personal work. While sitting in front of the bank employee, another visitor walked in. A simple, no-nonsense looking Mrs. Sarala from ‘XYZ Chemicals’ came asking for loan of 30 lakhs (INR). Since the company had a relationship with the bank for the last 20 years she was entitled to a collateral free loan. She was obviously a very trusted employee of the company she represented. What struck me the most was the ownership she showed towards her work. She did all the hard negotiations that were needed. She kept referring to the owner of the business as ‘Sir’. Some of her dialogues were, “Sir is traveling but I have spoken with him.” “We have to execute this order urgently, I have to place the PO and get the required raw material next week.” “I have already spoken with the party and confirmed that we will meet the deadline.” “Sir will be upset if this does not happen”. She had negotiation skills and partial decision making power. She made the banker pull out her file, check the previous records and give her the loan papers with an assurance that her case would be dealt urgently. She came from a small and medium enterprise (SME ) , with a turnover of 10 crores and the bank in question was a co-operative bank. I made a mental note to check the status of this case next time I visited the bank .
If I had to approach this company for a sale, the buying decision would be made by the ‘Sir’ and Mrs. Sarala jointly. Sir is the decision maker and Mrs. Sarala, the influencer. I mentally drew this buyer’s profile –
- Industry – Process Manufacturing (Chemical)
- Location – Pune – Tier II
- Annual Turnover – INR 10 Crore
- Profile of the Buyer – Founder/ Owner of the company. Engineer. 1st generation entrepreneur. Male, 55 – 60 years
- Identifiers – Travels frequently. He has a sales team but likes to maintain personal relations with key customers. Has 2-3 trusted employees like Mrs. Sarala in Purchase, Accounts and Compliance. He takes their opinion while setting up company policies and procedures, shares confidential information. However, the final decision is his.
Common Objections during the Sales process
This took me back to the conversations my team and I have had with 100s of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) owners. In our discussion around automation they mentioned the following pain points, concerns and objections .
- Resource constraints
- Unique requirements
- Small teams, so automation is not the highest priority
- Happy with Free tools available, though with limited functionality
- Affordability of automation tools
- Integration with their core systems
How do we tackle these objections?
- Show how efficiency will increase and business will grow with automation.
- Scalable platform so they can add applications as required. As the business grows, their team size will to grow. It is better to lay the foundation while the team is small.
- Free tools will offer limited functionality. Again when the business grows, monitoring tools will be required.
- SaaS based offering so no upfront cost or high investments.
- Flexible solution that can take care of unique operations
- Help manage peripheral tasks which will help them focus on their core business
- Collaboration on single platform, record all knowledge in the tool so less person dependency.
- Single dashboard for multiple applications in different functions
An automation vendor really needs to understand psyche of the owners of SMEs. If you handhold them throughout the buying process and demonstrate how their pain points will be addressed by the solution, the buyer will be more than willing to give your solution a try. Make sure you mean what you say and genuinely care for them and their business!