In previous posts on the buying process for B2B companies, I shared my view that the first buying stage is awareness of a problem or opportunity, followed by the second stage, namely defining that problem or opportunity.

The third stage is the brief, where the company sets out its requirements for removing the barrier to achieving its objectives. The brief can come in many forms, from the ultra-short verbal brief, to the more formal requests for information, quote, or proposal, through to the ultra-formal Invitation to Tender.

At this stage companies may still decide they can meet these requirements internally, that they don’t need to go for outside help. Don’t forget that for you the selling organisation your two biggest competitors are ‘internal solution’ or ‘do nothing’.

Most importantly, the requirements stage is where the customer outlines what they think they need. They might not need what they think they need. Crucially too, they’re pre-occupied with the ‘what’.

They’re not as focused on the ‘why‘, which is the key question, nor the ‘how’, which is down to you.