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Sales Process v. Buying Process

I enjoy very few things as much as a "Great Semantic Debate" like this one: Should we be talking about a "Sales Process" or a "Buying Process?" Both phrases mean essentially the same thing. They refer to the series of actions that are required in order for a purchasing decision to be made. One (sales process) addresses the actions taken by a salesperson. The other (buying process) looks at the actions taken by a prospect or customer.

The term "sales process" has been around for a long time. It's convenient, common, and well-used. The phrase "buying process," on the other hand, is a bit newer. Its' proponents tell us that it's better because it places the focus where it belongs: On your prospect. Plus, they say, 57% of the buying process is complete before a prospect is willing to communicate with a salesperson. In my opinion, it doesn't matter what we call it...as long as attention is on the right spot: The customer. It's surprising just how often prospects and customers take a back seat to other things among sales teams. Sometimes things like . . .

  • Ego: "I'm going to win this deal because I'm the best."
  • Income: "I'm going to win this deal because I want more money."
  • Product: "I'm going to win this deal because my product is the best."
  • Quota: "I'm going to win this deal because I've got to hit my quota."
  • Survival: "I'm going to win this deal because I've got to pay my bills."

. . . get more attention. And misaligned focus like that doesn't particularly change whether you talk about a sales process or a buying process. In either case, your sales team's focus should instead be on the same thing: Customer Needs and Wants. What do you think? Which is a better phrase? - @JebBrooks