Know Your Buyer

Giff Constable marketing, startups

Steve Blank just shared an interesting anecdote from his days in marketing, where he created what he thought was the ultimate data sheet, only to find his CEO and VP of sales literally setting it on fire.

The VP of Sales had an insightful quote: “the only thing your datasheet will do is give a prospective customer a reason for saying ‘no’ before our salespeople ever get to talk to them.

The real morale of this story to entrepreneurs isn’t about sales versus marketing, but rather the following:

You need to know how your customers make buying decisions.

This differs depending on price point, industry, and purchaser. Make sure you clearly know who your buyer is (not always the user): how they generally think and act, how much budget they often have to work with, and the rules and constraints they are subject to.

Learn about how people think *today*, because this does change. There is no question in my mind that people’s buying processes and thinking have evolved considerably since my start in software in 1994.

But overall, you want to go with the flow and not fight human behavior. It is possible to revolutionize how something is purchased, especially if you are radically changing the price point, but this takes time.