Buyer Market Adoption Problem Resolution

May 7th, 2013 by Matthew Rosenhaft Leave a reply »

The fundamental business problem that we see for complex BtoB technology companies is that they lack an understanding of the nuances and differences of how diverse and complex buyers in their markets adopt new technologies to solve problems sufficiently to enable our company to become a trusted problem diagnosis advisor and recognized solution partner in the market sufficient to differentiate us prior to a relationship and significantly transform adoption rates for your technology solution.

Peer Influenced versus Vendor Driven Shift – We see that the shift in BtoB corporate buyer behavior is significantly impacting the way buyers clarify the causation of their acute business pains, determine prioritization and make strategic business decisions, research problem solving options, define requirements, engage with vendors, and define expectations for customer experience. In short, social media has gone from a tangential impact on the buying process to becoming the underpinning of peer influence as the central foundation for decision making. This means that buyer adoption process is more influential than the traditional vendor driven solution evangelism and is radically shifting the definitions of markets. Introducing new definitions of market engagement:

  • Buyer Adoption – which starts with the recognition of pain through to the successful resolution of the underlying problem
  • Solution Evangelism – sales, marketing, business development – that companies traditionally used to create awareness, interest, and transactional sales

Redefined Definition of Market – If 80% of buyers are in the ecosystem (note the un-market description as many of their interactions will not be as buyers engaged in a market, but rather a peer engaged in peer communities and forums for peer education) to solve a problem and are not considering themselves in a particular vendor market to buy a solution or even educated enough to be aware of what solution they need, this means that the traditional structure of markets are not effective to reaching these buyers.

Structured versus Unstructured Engagement in Markets – The traditional structure of markets was easier to maintain when the sources of information were defined. With the explosion of peer communities, forums, blogs, and sources of peer information; the sources for information have gone non-linear. The definition of market that encompasses the variety of different pains, problems, and scenarios opens up the market to the 80% uneducated buyers. This long-tail is too costly for traditional market coverage models and is difficult for vendors  to address through traditional solution evangelism.

80:20 of Buyer Engagement is underpinning the 20:80 of Vendor Adoption Ceiling – This 80:20 split of uneducated, problem solvers versus educated solution seeker buyers is underpinning the 20:80 adoption rates that firms are seeing today. If you define buyer market adoption as the intersection of your technology solutions adoption in the market with the buyer’s need to fix a painful problem, then your adoption rate for your technology solution is the conversion number in your available universe who actually recognize the pain to the  number of buyers that you actually helped solve the underlying cause of that pain with your technology solution. We bet your solution evangelism is capped at a ceiling of 20% at best. Why? Because we see 80% of the conversations in the market are peer-to-peer without vendor participation. Take the sales funnel conversion from mouth to close and we find that 20% of the “no” decisions are lost to competitors; with 80% of decisions as “no” or non-decisions.

Adoption is a Different Foundational Core than Solution Evangelism – Traditional solution evangelism has the same underlying mechanics as buyer market adoption, but the
core is around solving a buyer’s particular problem (starting in the market during their research and through the sales/purchase process through to delivery of the solution and measurement of success as solving the problem). The challenge today is that each “stage” of the buyer’s lifecycle is silo-ed and focused on aiding the transaction so now one owns “buyer adoption.”

Marketing is focused on awareness and interest, business development on opportunity identification, and sales on relationships and revenue. Solution delivery is responsible for delivering the value of the solution. Solving the problem is done throughout the process in stages, but the risk increases with the larger cost of the transaction, complexity of the buyer organizations, complexity of the technology, degree of customization, the complexity of the implementation, the amount of change management to rip and replace an existing solution, etc. Adoption is usually an after-thought, but core to a buyer’s ability to solve the problem. The amount of complexity increases the odds that the buyer will NOT solve the underlying problem, but rather only treat the symptomatic pain.

Requires a Systematic Business Redesign – The business operates as designed. Good or bad, the systems today are designed around maximizing the effectiveness of its solution evangelism rather than solving the particular problem for individual buyers on a massive scale. The premise is that the organization must become competent at aiding the buyer adoption of individual buyers on a market level, mass-customization, if you will.

Matthew Rosenhaft

Matthew is a Social Marketing Executive and is co-founder of Social Gastronomy, LLC and the Social Executive Council. Prior to founding Social Gastronomy, Matthew has over 18 years’ experience as an executive in marketing, product management, and sales. Matthew has an extensive background in the SaaS Software, Social Media, Mobile, IT Services, and Telecom industries. He has prior entrepreneurial experience as a founder and executive in several early-stage venture-backed technology companies, as well as, holds several US patents for a mobile marketing technology. Matthew is a prominent blogger and regular industry speaker on social marketing and strategy topics. Matthew’s blog can be found at www.socialgastronomy.com/blog. For more information on Matthew, you can check out his LinkedIn profile at www.linkedin.com/in/rosenhaft or contact him directly at mrosenhaft@socialgastronomy.com.