Sales success in 2014 will require doing something different – not just doing something better.
Scottsdale, AZ (PRWEB) December 18, 2013
Success in major B2B accounts is based on a salesperson’s ability to get on the customer’s side of the table. The difference in major B2B sales is: more customer contacts are engaged in the buying cycle, more senior level participation is involved and, most importantly, customers’ expectations have changed.
What is most telling is that what customers expect is more challenging. Hence the focus of sales calls and level of business conversations must be substantially different than in the past.
To succeed in 2014, salespeople in major B2B accounts will need to accomplish the following:
1. Possess greater industry and company knowledge. Salespeople must come to sales calls with a comprehensive understanding of the customer’s industry and their company. Yesterday’s expectation of knowing a little and asking traditional “discovery questions” is a standard that has come and gone.
2. Sell the problem, not the solution. In major B2B sales the problems are extremely complex for multiple reasons – different customer players have differing perceptions of the problem, the consequences are difficult to assess, and many of the payoffs are intangible. Salespeople must first and foremost focus on understanding the complexity of the problem and conveying the urgency of solving it, before they ever enter into a discussion of the solution.
3. Bring perspective and insight. Customers expect salespeople to do more than uncover their problems. They expect salespeople to bring an informed, fresh perspective to framing the problem. Salespeople must help them think about their problems more broadly – bringing imagination and creativity. It also means that customers expect salespeople to have a point of view about alternative innovative solutions. The higher up in the organization – the truer these propositions.
4. Focus on the customer’s buying process, not your selling process. According to Richard, Ruff, Principal at Sales Momentum, “There are a number reasons why this is important. First, with all of the information available to customers by the time salespeople are engaged in the customer’s buying process, customers are often half way through it. Second, the buying process in major accounts is no longer linear. The problem may be redefined several times during the buying process or negotiation may begin before the nature of the solution is finalized.” In 2014 the challenge will not be about doing a better job learning and following your sales process; it will be about understanding how to adapt and redefine it in real-time. It is becoming increasingly important for salespeople to engage the customer where the customer is in the buying process. This requires bring flexibility and adaptabilty when implementing the sales process.
5. Get good at team selling. Salespeople alone will not be able to provide the required levels of knowledge and insights to meet the customer’s emerging expectations. The lone salesperson will increasingly be replaced with the sales team. “Team selling provides new challenges to salespeople. A sales team is more than having three people in the same room at the same time. Successful team selling requires salespeople to learn new skills, like: how to leverage scarce internal resources, how to manage sales teams, and how to plan and execute team sales calls,” according to Janet Spirer – Principal at Sales Momentum.
About Sales Momentum: For more than 30 years Dr. Richard Ruff and Dr. Janet Spirer – the founders of Sales Momentum – have worked with the Fortune 1000 to design and develop sales training programs that make a difference. By working with companies – such as UPS, Smith & Nephew, Textron, the Center for Creative Leadership, and Robbins & Myers – they have learned that today’s standard for a great sales force significantly differs from yesterday’s picture. Janet and Richard co-authored Mastering Major Account Selling and Parlez-Vous Business. They also publish the sales blog - Sales Training Connection. Richard co-authored Managing Major Account Selling and Getting Partnering Right. The books are available here.
©2013 Sales Momentum® LLC