I see seven stages in the typical B2B buying process, and so far we’ve covered the awareness of a problem or opportunity, defining that problem or opportunity, briefing the requirements to fix the problem or capitalise on the opportunity, evaluating the alternatives and selecting the best alternative.

The sixth and penultimate stage is investing in the best alternative and implementing that investment. This can often be the shortest stage, as long as the hard work has already been done.

As I’ve mentioned, the risk has been increasing for the buying company and is at its highest the moment it signs on the dotted line and submits the order. At that point it is committed and is now usually interested in the quickest and most effective implementation possible, so that it can start to reap the benefits of its carefully calculated and judiciously selected investment.

The buying company is also running a business at the same time, so it needs to make sure the implementation happens in a way that allows it to keep running that business at the same time as transitioning to the new ways of doing things with the new product or service it has bought. This is not usually easy!