This month we’ve posted on understanding prospects, including the economic buyer and technical buyers. Today we’ll look at users, the third main buyer type.
User buyers represent individuals directly impacted by your proposed solution. They know—perhaps first-hand—the lost weekends and career damage that result from poor implementations. They’re also wary of change in general.
Appealing to the user buyer
User buyers will focus on your transition and how your solution will work. Anticipate and answer these questions:
- What’s the implementation plan? Describe your transition plan, including a detailed schedule and milestones. User buyers will want to see pre-transition consultation and user training. Identify key members of your transition team and their experience. If you have a clean record of on-time, on-budget implementations, include details of similar projects with references.
- Is your solution reliable and easy to use? Cite accepted measures of reliability and ease of use for your industry. Identify specific activities that will become easier using your solution—for example, fields that auto fill as a result of file integration. If available, include survey results showing current user acceptance.
- Are maintenance and support included? User buyers will want to know how ongoing needs will be met. Is there a help desk providing a single point of contact? If the prospect is large, are you offering a dedicated account manager? Can you include a response time promise for emergency and non-emergency issues?
- Is your solution safe? If relevant, explain your safety management plan. Include safety records for other sites, using standard measures, such as recordable injuries and lost-time accidents.
- How do you propose to manage issues? Cite specific examples where you have successfully resolved issues that threatened to impact a prospect’s employees and/or customers.
- How will your solution affect morale and customer satisfaction? Although not specifically evaluated, this is the subtext for all user buyer concerns. Will workload increase or decrease? Will issues be easier or harder to resolve? Will CSRs face more or fewer upset customers? Use case studies and other devices to convince user buyers their lives will improve when your solution is implemented.
How much clout do user buyers have?
User buyers usually have less formal status than other evaluators. Also, they tend to base conclusions on emotional and subjective factors, rather than hard facts. These factors can reduce their influence on evaluation teams.
On the other hand, user buyer issues are often valid and shared to some extent by other evaluators. Include key user issues in your competitive solution matrix and address them as you would performance and economic issues.
Win them over now
User buyers represent the front line people who will implement and use your solution. For better or worse, they will have a large impact on its eventual success. Get them onside early by respecting their concerns in your proposal.
Need help writing more client focused proposals?
||Paul Heron, MBA, is the founder and managing partner of Complex2Clear, and leads our bid response practice. LinkedIn