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Selling Business Outcomes

Why Do Executives Buy?

Executives and leaders want to talk to vendors about results impact and outcomes because they are ultimately responsible for their organization’s performance and the achievement of their business goals. They are looking for solutions that can help them achieve these goals and positively impact their business.

  1. Business results: Executives and leaders are primarily interested in solutions that can drive business results, such as increased revenue, cost savings, or improved efficiency. They want to understand how a product or service can positively impact their bottom line.
  2. ROI: Executives and leaders are also interested in solutions that can deliver a clear return on investment (ROI). They want to know that their investment in a product or service will generate a measurable benefit for their organization.
  3. Competitive advantage: Executives and leaders want solutions to give their organization a competitive advantage. They want to know that the product or service can help them stay ahead of their competitors.
  4. Business outcomes: Executives and leaders are also interested in solutions that can help them achieve specific business outcomes, such as increased customer satisfaction, improved employee engagement, or streamlined operations.
  5. Future readiness: Executives and leaders want solutions that can help them to be ready for the future, help them to be more agile and adaptable to change, and create new growth opportunities.

By discussing results impact and outcomes, vendors can demonstrate how their product or service can help the executive or leader achieve their business goals and positively impact their organization. This helps the executive or leader see the value the vendor can bring, and it increases the likelihood of them making a purchase.

What is an Outcome?

Executives want outcomes:

  1. They want to drive to a future state: An outcome is grounded in reality and includes everything the customer does in that future state. It’s more than the ‘desired’ end state, which can sometimes be unrealistic at worst, and aspirational at best. Describing an outcome includes addressing the practical realities the customer will face to achieve their business goals.
  2. They want to achieve measurable results: Those results might not always be financial, but they are still testable and observable, so there’s little doubt about whether they have been achieved.
  3. They want to support top-level investments: An outcome is tied to an initiative that is chartered and funded and isn’t subordinate to or rolled under a broader plan. It’s essential to get the ‘altitude level right. A goal like “giving our field support team handheld devices and applications” is a means to some greater end, like “Near-zero customer downtime.” Benefits should be traceable from projects like rolling out a new sales university – through business metrics like increased salesperson productivity – to financial goals and, ultimately, corporate earnings.
  4. They want to align to executive vision and strategy: An initiative’s results and challenges and their relative importance will vary depending on the perspective of different people within the organization. The view of the accountable individual — the one whose job is at risk if the initiative fails — matters most.
  5. They want to factor in the interests of impacted stakeholders: Achieving outcomes takes coordination and support across functional areas within a company.
  6. They want to evolve understanding over time through the customer’s problem-solving lifecycle: The path to achieving the end state is more significant than selecting, procuring, and deploying a vendor’s product. The arc can begin as early as defining the right core problem and extend well beyond ensuring user adoption.
Updated on June 27, 2023

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