Change your perspective to better understand your customers

These days the media is dominated by the farthest journey ever undertaken by human kind: the landing on the moon 50 years ago. We will depart on an allegedly much shorter journey that can have its pitfalls and problems, the ‘buyer journey’. 

Buzz Aldrin on the moon | Photo: NASA
Buzz Aldrin on the Moon | Photo: NASA

In the beginning there was search

The strategy meeting lasted forever, and I am exhausted. The management has given green light to the launch of the new product. The masterplan for the – in my opinion risky – investment has been handed out. As the supply-chain manager I have been assigned the task of upgrading our production for our new innovation.

Overwhelmed by the vast amount of information, I try to sort my thoughts and sketch a first plan on a blank sheet of paper. The task seems to overstrain me, and I can’t help feeling helpless. After collecting myself, I start off with thorough research on the web on how to commence the new project which promises to be a long journey.

My first stops are our known suppliers and the ‘usual suspects’. Quickly I gain an overview about the offering from the market. We know each other already… I developed the ambition not to provide a plain vanilla solution but to go further and develop a better plan for my company. I want to profile myself as an innovator. So, I extend my search and become more confident with bigger ideas. After a little while, I am again haunted by the previous feeling of being overwhelmed by the complexity and diversity of the offerings. How shall I ever make the right decisions?

Scene change to the supplier

Ever since our marketing and sales departments have been restructured and the team players pulled themselves together to better cooperate, our conversion rates have gone up by 73 percent.

The most significant improvement, however, came with the introduction of Eko Data Intelligence (EDI). With data analysis from EDI we were able to shift our focus from outbound lead marketing to inbound lead marketing. Instead of a wide range of outbound marketing activities on various conventional channels, we now can – thanks to EDI – identify inbound leads (e.g. from our web site) by name, see what they are interested in and how we can target them. EDI provides us with those sales leads in form of comprehensive reports straight on our desks respectively directly into our CRM system. Instead of straying around with time-devouring research we can now contact potential new leads directly and efficiently.

I just received a new report saying that a company, which we have been working on for quite a while and which would be an excellent customer (and reference), has been visiting our website researching extensively our newly launched machines!

Target and beguile potential new customers with inbound lead marketing

Group business partners discussing new project at meeting in office room
Adobe Stock | yurolaitsalbert

Switching back to the customer… After days of extensive research and tormenting my brain I render myself rattled. Instead of clarity and overview, I feel confusion and overextension. Being stressed out for days, I neglected by daily routine and my e-mail inbox is meanwhile overflowing. To get some distraction, I decide to attend to my inbox first to bring it up-to-date. To get at least something done.

From experience, the older mails usually resolve themselves with sufficient patience. Also the numerous newsletters are quickly deleted (according to studies, 90 percent do not react to outbound marketing). Suddenly an e-mail from one of the suppliers I recently researched catches my attention.

Positive emotions create positive impulses for buying decision

I am surprised! Someone seems to read my mind. The mail introduces new machines and equipment that seem perfectly suitable for us. It is like the essence of information I was looking for during the last days and that wouldn’t disclose itself to me until now. Like a fairy godmother wanting to take the burden of my shoulders, I suddenly gather a much clearer view on the matter: I catch a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel.

I do not hesitate and reply to the mail quickly to schedule a meeting. I want to move forward. It does not take long and my phone rings. It is the key account manager of the supplier and we dive into a long-lasting, detailed and productive discussion on how to structure a project. That’s what I call customer care!

With a relaxed smile and definitely more motivated, I continue my journey. Proceeding with my work, I realize that I start to tend to the supplier who directly contacted me and attended to me thoroughly.

To cut a long story short: Said supplier was shortlisted because of the total package and negotiations were quickly concluded in a relaxed and collaborative atmosphere. A sustainable cooperation has begun and the way for our product launch has been paved.

A psychological excursion about buying decisions

by Laura Lehner

Our brain decides up to ten seconds before we make decisions consciously, usually within 100 to 200 milliseconds. [1]

Why must this happen so fast? Our brain is confronted with around 20,000 decisions every day. This does not only include significant topics like ‘Shall I accept the job offer?’ or ‘Shall I buy the apartment?’. In fact, the large number of small decisions (‘What detergent to use?’ or ‘What pair of socks shall I wear today?’) require the decision-making efficiency of our brain.

Foto: Adobe Stock | kirasolly
Adobe Stock | kirasolly

How your brain decides

Responsible for decisions is a small areal in our brain named Hippocampus. It earned its name from the resemblance with the sea horse. The Hippocampus plays a role in memory processes but also decision processes. It is part of the limbic system which is responsible for emotions. The Hippocampus, our little sea horse, is often also referred to as ‘gateway to consciousness’. It filters which information is relevant and which is not. Emotions have always played a huge role in decision-making.

Why it is relevant if you had contact with the customer already

Firstly, it would be favorable if the customer already linked a positive emotion with you respectively if he stored a memory of you. We learned earlier that both interact. This automatically makes you a priority choice without putting too much thought into it. Secondly, another psychological phenomenon comes into play: The anchoring effect describes the tendency of the human brain to prioritize known information for decision-making, even if there is no obvious contextual link. In advertising and marketing this phenomenon is extensively used to manipulate buyer behavior in the desired direction.

[1] Original study: Soon, C. S., Brass, M., Heinze, H. J., & Haynes, J. D. (2008). Unconscious determinants of free decisions in the human brain. Nature neuroscience, 11(5), 543.