Disruption in Customer Buying Processes

Little kids love pony rides. At country fairs, they go round and round on a group of small ponies who walk in circles, tethered to a central post.

Salespeople love the predictability of customer buying cycles. They follow customers who go round and round taking the same five or six steps as they make buying decisions.

But pony rides come to an end, and so do buying cycles. As customers worldwide reengineer their buying processes, the idea of a closed-loop buying process is losing its validity and usefulness. As McKinsey & Company recently reported, “The funnel—the classic linear progression in which customers narrow their buying options as they advance from product awareness to purchase—is becoming ...

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