The Multi-Step Sales Process
Part 2: Telemarketing, Fulfillment and Sales Strategy
The major difference between segments SS-E and SS-F is in the mind of the customer.
SS-E—the customer "gets it." They understand the product and how it works. They understand the utility of the product and what it does for them. The product is often mature, and the customer has purchased it before. The customers almost always understand their place in the buying process—they know if they are a buyer, influencer or have no role. If they have no role, they probably know who you should talk to.
SS-F—Customers don't understand the product and, in fact, may not even heard of it. They don't understand what the product can do for them. The products are often new, at least to them, and often arcane. Customers may not know their role in the buying process—they may not know whether they are a buyer, influencer or have no role at all. They may not even be able to refer the seller to the right buyer.
Both SS-E and SS-F can sometimes describe the same product! Remember, segmentation is based on the perceptions of the customer, so in a mature market the product may be an SS-E; in a new market, it's an SS-F. And, as you'll see, you may have to support each market with different selling systems. Robert's Complexity Rule drives the strategies discussed in the following section. The rule states:
The more complicated the perception of a product's complexity/utility and the higher the price, the more steps are required to successfully close a sale.
Here's how that rule drives very different strategies.
• Information needs are well defined; customers have product knowledge.
• Buyers almost always know who they are, thus qualifying is easy.
• Fulfillment materials can discuss features, advantages and benefits properly since we and they know what they know and what information they need to make a decision.