Every company has aspirations to become the market leader in their space. Leading your market has built-in advantages over your competition. Market leadership helps to ensure a level of stability and longevity.
Getting there and staying there is the hard part.
The demands of the market and the buyers within them can set the bar very high. Being the market leader can be very tenuous as buyers evaluate new emerging technologies and options. Rising to the top also comes with a heavy responsibility. Which is this:
Customers and buyers expect market leaders to provide them with a roadmap of the future.
Recently, this became a profound understanding for me, which I want to share with you. I conducted a significant amount of qualitative buyer interviews during the past year or more. There was a sense buying behavior was shifting in this direction. It has led me to conclude this:
Organizations today, particularly B2B, must develop the capability as well as provide to their prospective buyers and existing customers future-oriented Buyer Foresight™.
Buying behavior is shifting towards future-oriented thinking and planning for several important reasons:
Rapid Change in Technology
This is a big threat for existing customers and prospect buyers. When it comes to high-ticket technology and solutions, the stakes are high. A true source of fear is making a significant investment in technology, which may be obsolete in a year. Here is a buyer voice on this matter:
“One of the things we really like to know is what is being planned in the future. We expect honesty because the last thing we want is to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars only to be stuck with an obsolete system.” Vice President, Business Integration and Operations
Customers and prospect buyers want to be associated with organizations demonstrating successful skills in innovation. Future-oriented buyers are not interested in the status quo. They also want to share in the innovation. Another voice:
“We are looking for a long-term partnership. We want to actually be a part of what they create. Even at the R&D stage. We believe it helps serve us as well as serve them.” Chief Operating Officer
The Vision Thing
A concept I covered in my conversation with Michael Brenner is the idea of how customers and buyers desire vision. They want to not only understand your future. They desire to gain their own foresight into how their future can change if they enter a relationship with you. A voice to articulate:
“Our committee does a five-year outlook planning session once per year. It is a fun exercise really. So, I like vendors who can give me a vision of where they think they will be in five years as well as how they think where we will be in five years.” Vice President, Portfolio Management
Developing Competency in Buyer Foresight
There are several ways to begin building buyer foresight into an organization’s DNA, which can be covered over a series of articles and conversations. Here are just a few for starters:
- Conduct qualitative buyer research – on-site to get the best future-oriented perspective
- Create appropriate levels of personas for the Persona Buying Cycle™
- Recognize Buyer Insight which can be turned into Buyer Foresight
- Engage in buyer scenario modeling and mapping exercises which are future-oriented
The last of these suggestions, are important new exercises. Adapting to what I have called in the past Buyer Scenario Modeling can be a significant path for organizations to take towards Buyer Foresight.
Buyers today are seeking relationships which keeps pace with the rapid changes in the new digital age. Buyer foresight is a means to help you do just that.