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60 percent of deals in the pipeline are lost to ‘no decision’ rather than to competitors.

One positive aspect of this pandemic has been my journey of reconnecting with nature. Biking, hiking, walking – I haven’t been outdoors this frequently in quite some time. It has been exhilarating!

On my recent visit to one of my twin daughters (who naturally goes to a California state school now that we are no longer residents there), we decided to experiment with different daily hikes which sounded GREAT in theory. On this particular morning, my daughter wanted to try a ‘new’ hike by the ocean. Who wouldn’t want the fresh ocean air and vibrancy of a California hike vs. the bland New Jersey hikes I’ve recently become accustom to?

We drove about an hour to our destination, I chatted with her, she was sharing her excitement (?) about her summer internship and we talked about the eventual hike we would go do. Once we arrived to our hiking destination, at the base of the mountain, we were welcomed with this sign at the base of the trail…

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Look at everything listed on that sign!! Mountain lions, ticks, thieves, poison oak, Raccoons, and bonus….Rattlesnakes on my hike? Are you kidding me?! Although I tried to be ‘Dad Strong’, I mentally froze in my tracks and really started to question whether to ‘soldier on’ through this beautiful California destination or retreat back to the safety of our comfortable car – maintain status quo vs. try something new. (for the record, I did go on the hike and no, no rattlesnakes on this hike – thankfully.)

It’s been several weeks since I’ve returned from this visit and hike but this sign left an indelible impression on me – no different from today’s buyers on new purchases OR leaders at companies trying new go-to-market motions like Account Based acquisition.

This sign parallels today’s buying and corporate environment.

Globally, we’re in ‘unprecedented times’ with soooo many people working from home. It can be challenging to concentrate – kids, dogs, family responsibilities, etc. We are all fatigued with non-stop Zooms, a time-savings blessing yet a transactional curse. Remote Sales Kickoffs – the only other time in my career that concept was kicked around was 2008 financial crisis to save money, it would be laughable to some in the last 5 years. Some are craving for in person Marketing events to return as well yet travel is cut back by Finance. Relationships have altered. Oh, and buying committee sizes have increased.

This greeting sign is kind of what buyers think about when they depart the status quo on a new concept or idea – what if something goes wrong? What if I ask to do an initiative and it doesn’t have an immediate payoff? Oh – and for those companies embarking on the change management process of an Account Based strategy, these same questions are coming up.

What if…prospect messaging can be the answer through this, but the messaging varies by a net new prospect sale (challenging the status quo) vs. an existing customer (maintaining the safety of continuity and service – preserving the relationship).

Corporate Visions wrote an excellent article on ‘What is Status Quo bias in Sales & Marketing?’ (and is the source of the stat above). Why do people not change according to their research – the simple answer is that people naturally view change as costly, unsafe, and risky – the same EXACT feelings I felt embarking on the hike.

One of the best resources I’ve ever read in the area of resell, expansion, and retention, is also by Corporate Visions and is here. It really should be required reading for any Marketing leader or CX leader and walks through the concerns of an existing customer on a variety of scenarios and proposed messaging frameworks around it.

How are you seeing your buyers today? Has it become easier or more challenging to transact? How have you helped allay the fears of ‘Rattlesnakes’ in your buying or change management process? Comment below.

(Photo with my daughter below – midway up the mountain, no snakes!)

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