Many companies make the mistake of thinking their customers make purchase decisions based on one or two purchase factors that they think are key purchase criteria, such as price or product availability. But this is rarely the case. Customers usually base their purchase decisions on a constellation of factors.  One company, for example, may purchase a computer system because of its confidence in a trusted reseller, while another company in the same business might choose a different system because of its compatibility with its existing equipment or because of the availability of specific features. The following steps are the keys to determining what drives customers’ purchasing power:

Step 6: Identify any negative market factors that impact your customer’s purchase decision

It is important to identify and overcome any negative market factors that may impact your ability to achieve your sales objectives. For example, if economic conditions in your sales territory are poor, or if the interest rates are very high, it may be difficult for your customers to obtain financing to purchase your products. In this situation, your selling success may depend on your company’s ability to help your customers finance your products. 

Similarly, if the new competitors are moving into your market, new legislation is being proposed to regulate your marketing activities, or new technologies are changing how your customers manage their business, you will need to evaluate and respond to the impact that these factors may have on your customer’s business.

Step 7: Identify any emerging market factors that may impact your customer’s purchase decision.

 Anticipating emerging market factors, such as consolidation of suppliers and emerging technologies, can help ensure the viability of your business.

Step 8: identify the purchase factors that your competitors are using to position their products.

By observing how your competitors position their products, you can identify the purchase factors that your competitors consider most important to their customers.

Step 9: Evaluate your Marketing Information System

A Marketing Information System or MIS is a formal term for the process that a company uses to build a database of market information, and to coordinate, validate, and communicate market intelligence; companies that dominate their market create robust marketing information system to enable them to track their customers’ needs and concerns, market trends, and competitive challenges. 

It is not easy to create an effective MIS, but once a system is in place, your company can use it to help guide product and resource planning, prioritize research projects, support product development and production, and help evaluate the effectiveness of your company’s sales and marketing programs.

The primary input to an MIS is intelligence from the sales force; however, in most companies, sales people must stay focused on territory management and account development. So it is usually the marketing group’s responsibility to gather, evaluate, and distribute this information from its sales force and from research companies, industry publications, financial analysts, and competitor’s marketing communications. 

Your company can use its MIS to provide the information that its managers need to make the informed decisions that will enable your company achieve total marketing domination.

  • Corporate Communication:  Is your marketing message clear and effective?  Is your company receiving  complaints about  its advertising  form its distribution channel or from potential customers?
  • Sales management: Are your promotions continuing to generate customer interest? Are your competitors lowering bid prices?  Are your sales forecasts accurate? Marketing should drive the implementation of new technologies that can leverage its sales and marketing programs.
  • Production: Is quality improving, adequate, or lacking? Are you supplying the right mix of products?
  • Engineering:  What features are customers demanding? What modifications will enable new market segments to be penetrated?
  • Quality:  Is the number of your product defects increasing or decreasing? 
  • Are customers satisfied with your service? How many customer complaints were filed last month?
  • Research and Development: What rumors have been heard about new technological developments?
  • Finance: Are your account receivable policies in line with the rest of the industry? Do you have any collection problems with your key accounts?
  • Shipping: Are your products arriving in good condition? Are your shipments timely? Are your shipments accurate?
  • Administration: Have you received any complaints about how your phones are unanswered, or about how long it takes to answer your customers’ calls?
  • Legal: Are your customers complaining with the specific terms of their contract? Are your competitor’s policies changing in regard to product usage, or indemnifications?
  • Senior Management: Are your senior managers aware of new competitive facilities and new technologies that may impact your market? Are your senior managers aware of the impact that your marketing program s are having on your company’s image?

The Bottom Line: Do you understand the key factors that drive your customers’ purchase decisions?

The first step on the path to total market dominion is identifying the key factors that drive your customers’ purchase decisions. Taking the time to understand your customers’ needs and concerns will enable you to “see the world through your customer’s eyes” and help your company develop products and services that are easy to sell.  

Selling downhill – by addressing the constellation of factors that your customers will use to make their purchase decisions – will enable you to market your products in a way that is both relevant and compelling. And that will help your company build the sales momentum that it needs to achieve total market dominion.  


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