When you go to the grocery store, you don’t think about the company behind the product. You think about how the product meets your needs. Rarely is there any trust involved in small, simple purchases. The same can’t be said when researching products and services for a business. (We wish!)
Obviously, trust is always a good thing for every business. However, trust is more critical for some businesses than others. What about yours?
It depends. (Don’t you love that answer?)
You can determine the importance of trust in your business by looking at what you sell, what the purchasing decision involves and what happens after the purchase.
What are you selling?
Let’s start with an example of two types of IT products. One is SaaS with email, word processing, presentation and spreadsheet software like Microsoft Office. The other is an enterprise-based application like SAP. Both are tangible products, but Microsoft Office is easier to try than the robust SAP. A software that helps the enterprise manage business operations and customer relations has a bigger impact and value on a company than productivity software does.
In this scenario, Microsoft won’t have to work as hard as SAP to build trust.
Look at the following facets of what you’re selling. How you answer these questions will determine the level of trust your product or service needs.
- Does your business sell something that’s tangible or intangible? Intangible requires more trust.
- What’s the cost? Higher priced products require more trust.
- How easy is it to try your product or service? The harder it is, the more trust is needed.
- How much value does the product or service add? Higher value requires more trust.
What’s involved in the purchase?
After you know the factors of what you’re selling, start exploring what’s involved in making a decision.
How much effort does it take for your prospects to make an educated purchasing decision? The more effort involved, the more important trust is.
Microsoft is less complex than SAP. For SAP, the buyer will need to do more research to understand how to evaluate business operations software and compare competing products. The buyer may not know what to look for to decide which product meets the company’s needs best. When the buyer has less knowledge and expertise, trust plays a greater role.
The purchasing decision isn’t just about choosing the right software. Implementation also needs to be considered. The bigger, more complex product, the harder it will be to integrate into the company, and the more important trust is.
Who will be responsible for implementation? The company’s IT department? A third-party vendor? The company selling the product? If your company offers implementation services for its own products, it’ll need to work harder to earn trust. Third-party vendors need to earn trust too, but not as much when the product isn’t theirs.
Regardless of who does the implementation, buyers need to know how to evaluate implementation services. How else can they ensure whoever they select is equipped to handle implementation? There’s trust again.
What happens after purchasing?
No one likes to think things won’t go well. But things happen.
What if your client isn’t happy with the product after implementation? What happens then? How hard is it to switch to a competitor? The harder it is to switch, the more trust your company needs.
Some enterprise software products are multifaceted that customers won’t have a clue whether your company makes a mistake during implementation. No company wants to be taken advantage of by others. So this situation requires more trust.
Should everything go well with purchasing and implementation, there’s still another thing your clients must think about: How fast is your industry changing?
Today, your product may be a perfect match. Tomorrow, it may fall behind if it doesn’t changing fast enough to keep up with industry standards. The faster rate of change, the more trust matters.
Is your company more like Microsoft Office? SAP? Somewhere in-between?
How much trust does your company need? What other factors affect trust?