The sales process has evolved. Knowing what your customers are doing for themselves, versus what value your sales reps can deliver to them is key to succeeding in the new marketplace. We are seeing the end of Solution Sales. Here’s some references that are a must read and listen if you lead or sell for an organization focused on business to business sales.
Will you use the new sales playbook this week?
February 10, 2013 By Leave a Comment
LISTEN TO THIS: HBR Ideacast gives you a quick 15 minute summary interview of a major research study published in the Harvard Business Review entitled “The End of Solution Sales”. The authors found “that by the time the average business customer reaches out to a supplier, their purchase decisions are almost 60% complete. So they scoped out their needs. They decided who they might buy from, what they want to pay for the solution.”
READ THIS: 6,000 of the top 20% of reps from 83 different companies were surveyed. 600 companies and 700 individual customer stakeholders were part of this extensive study. The researchers found that the superstar sales people don’t just sell more effectively, they sell differently. They do 3 key things one of which is that they “seek out a very different set of stakeholders, preferring skeptical change agents over friendly informants”. Read the rest of the article for the other 2.
Top reps may still be selling solutions, but more broadly, and much more importantly to the customers, they are selling insights.
The majority of leaders that I know would quickly say that their business is customer focused. The question reps used to ask customers was, “What is keeping you up at night?” The new question your sales reps should be answering for them is “What SHOULD be keeping you up at night?”
Discussion around the information found in this research can be a great topic for your next sales meeting. Lead it in a way in which everyone on the team feels heard and has an opportunity to share what is going right.