Before you think I have totally lost my mind, take a moment to read what I have to say about this topic – because I believe it has more Truth than I thought I would see in my lifetime.
Sure I read the book from Neil Rackham – one of the most acclaimed sales researchers in modern times – as he stated buyers do not want to be bothered by aggressive and pushy sales people anymore. That much I truly believe is correct based upon my interaction with so many buyers and decision makers.
Yesterday, I listened to a Marketing Expert talk about how much times have changed relative to actually how much a buyer needs a sales person. He stated prior to the widespread use of the internet, buyers actually needed us for product information and ideas for solving their problems.
Today, that has changed, the buyer can get as educated as they want from their laptop or tablet by searching the internet for product information, success stories, how to use our products, applications of solutions and even do some price comparisons – all without a sales person to talk with for one minute.
Does that ring any bells for you?
Okay, so what do you need to do to counter this change in need focus on the part of the buyer?
Here are Seven Important Challenges for you to focus upon starting now…
- Learn the Questioning Model of Selling
Stop starting the sales process with a Sales Presentation as it no longer works. Use the questioning model to engage your prospects and customers in discussions about their business – the good and the issues. Then discuss everything in greater detail to truly learn about their business.
- Lose the About Us, Me, and My Product Presentations
The Neuroscience research of how the brain works shows these presentations actually have little effect on a buyer. In fact, the brain activity during one of these “ME” presentations is actually thoughts about other things on their agenda. Get it? They are no longer engaged in listening to stuff about you – they are really interested in their business – not yours. Eliminate this mind-numbing exercise and focus upon their issues.
- Stop going after the low cost product sale
Unless you are from China and can build everything really cheap, realize the low cost route to sales success has no customer loyalty. The low cost loyalty is strictly for the lowest bid today and is transaction based rather than account based.
- Create an Ideal Customer Profile
If you do not have an Ideal Customer Profile, then how in the world can you tell the difference between a Great Prospect and a Lousy Prospect? Knowing the factors creating the ideal customer can assist you in developing clarity for targeted accounts. Look, the only thing you as a b2b sales person can trade is your time. Therefore, it is paramount you spend your time going after the accounts that can make a significant return on your Time Invested.
- Focus upon Building Accounts
While I mentioned it somewhat above, let me state your real job as a b2b sales person is to create excellent long term accounts for yourself and your organization. Your goal should be focused upon building a number of accounts with these traits in common – they purchase regularly, they have growth potential and the size or mix of the individual purchases can increase in average size. These elements or traits will lead to consistent high revenue growth rates for you.
- Develop Nurturing Campaigns to Win New Accounts
As B2B Sales person your job is no longer just to try to close every visit you make with a prospect. Your job is to nurture this prospect by building a trust based business relationship. To do this – particularly for a prospect – you must nurture the account with regular touches. Now, this is important – the touches are not sales letters or product demos or special pricing deals (which is old school stuff) – your job is educate the customer on things that interest the prospect. Articles on their industry trends, case studies showing how other companies solved issues similar to the prospect’s issues, white papers showing a third party research or testimonial regarding things that are important to the prospect. By the way, when I started selling it only took about four or five visits for the prospect to know who you were and what or how you could help them. Today, this number has ballooned to twelve touches before you can become top of mind to the prospect. With the high levels of security at buildings, plants and even communication systems (think voice mail and SPAM filters) it has become nearly impossible to get 12 visits. Therefore, other tools and methods must be utilized to touch the prospects.
- Get Your Company to Engage in Social Media Proof of Performance
There is a new kid on the block and it is the Social Media world. You can choice to fight it, resist it and not play the game as it is your choice. However, the evidence is beginning to point to higher and higher usage of these tools to determine who a prospect will invite into their world. In the world of B2B you need to be in LinkedIn and YouTube. Now, I hear you “YouTube! Are You Crazy?” Like a Fox is my answer. I’m not talking about stupid videos of you doing something stupid with your buddies. I’m talking about voice over slide shows talking about your industry trends or a targeted account’s industry trends, case studies of how to fix certain types of problems (yes, give away some content) and customer video telling the world how great you are. Then using your nurturing campaigns send prospects and clients to the video and have them “Like” it as well as view it. When new prospects see this activity and “content” you win more often. (At least I didn’t start talking about keywords and SEO factors to increase new lead generation for you.) The fact is your younger buyers are all using these tools to learn about products and processes, who is doing what in their industry, scooping on competitors and learning about your products. So, put it out there in a favorable way and win their trust and their business.
WOW. Got a little long winded on this one, yet it is an extremely important topic for those of us engaged in the world of B2B Sales. Use these b2b sales tips to get ahead in the game and win more accounts.