Ever heard of VRM? If your title includes the words “Sales” or “Business Development,” it behooves you start getting familiar with the concept. The simplest way to think about Vendor Relationship Management (VRM) is as the counterpart to Customer Relationship Management (CRM). If CRM is all about facilitating the sales process, the targeting, capturing, acquiring, managing, locking in and owning of customers; VRM is all about facilitating the buying process, the targeting, capturing, acquiring, managing, locking in and owning of vendors.
Doc Searls in his book The Intention Economy, lays out a vision of where it’s all heading. And it’s all so eminently logical and inevitable. He talks about the Intention vs. the Attention Economy. He talks about “the simple fact that buyers are the first source of money, and that they come ready-made.” Marketing and Sales do not make the customer; the customer already exists.
It’s the buyer’s job to find the seller.
Please, please, please sales and marketing professional, manager or executive, re-read the above sentence three times! Read it three times again tomorrow. And the day after. And the day after… That’s the buyers mind set. You ain’t gonna’ change it! Don’t fight it. Go with it.
Now, I am not advocating the abandonment of prospecting. The economy probably won’t ever totally flip from Attention-focused to Intention-focused. That said, the pendulum has already started swinging toward Intention. Embrace the change!
If it’s the buyer’s job to find the seller – and it is – it’s the seller’s job to become easy to find.
Anything leap to mind that might make you easier to find? Hmmmmm…. I wonder if it ever occurs to a buyer to search the internet? Are you easily findable with a Google search?
Much more importantly, is the value you can provide easily findable with a Google search?
Do you have a robust digital presence, an e-Rep? Are you out-competing your competitors at showcasing your knowledge? (NOT your freakin’ product or service, YOUR personal knowledge!) And don’t tell me you have keep that so-called proprietary knowledge of yours under wraps and confidential. It will continue to get harder and harder to get a customer’s attention. We all must already be “out there on the internet” with deep, deep expertise on full display when a customer acts on his or her intention.