So, you have been calling on a targeted account for a period of time and there has been zero interest from the prospect to change anything involving you and your company. Sound familiar? It happens to all of us.
However, the B2B Sales Superstars are always paying attention to events which can open the door to the higher possibility of change.
What are these sales people seeing and hearing that evade the average b2b sales person? Well, there are a number of events which you should be watching for either during your calls or from watching the business news in local papers or trade association magazines and newsletters.
Here is list of events to watch for the opportunity for change…
- Lower results or Below Expectations Earnings
Poor earnings or lower earnings will trigger a need for cost containment or revenue growth. Think about how you can assist in helping the company improve either the top or bottom lines or both at the same time.
- Mergers and Acquisitions
Expanding opportunities here plus the possibility of changes in the hierarchy of decision makers. Some – hopefully the blockers – will be moving out. Take advantage of this opening.
- Spin-offs of Business Units
Two ways to look at this one. First, a new target or opportunity can emerge with the business unit being spun off. There could be people who have wanted you in the account and now they may be in charge of the decision. Second, there is a reduction in the targeted company’s size and possibly their focus has narrowed. If this new focus is a better fit for you and your company, intensify your efforts to get meetings with decision makers.
- New Products or Services
Announcements about new products or services may be too late for any quick change. However, rumors about a possible new product or service should get your attention and an intensification of efforts to win new business by getting involved in the developmental side of a new offering by the customer or prospect.
- New Locations especially Plants and Distribution Centers
New additions will always create new sales opportunities especially when you are in the business of selling equipment to organizations. The door is open wide and you must intensify your efforts to gain an advantage.
- Territorial Expansion
The number one reason for territorial or geographical expansion is appreciated sales growth. This is the only reason to increase the costs of acquisition of new business – sales growth. Help your target see the advantages of working with you during these expansion efforts.
- Downsizing or Rightsizing
Usually not a great sign when you see a company downsizing. It can be due to two reasons. First, their sales revenues are down significantly and are not expected to rebound quickly. Second, their costs are too high leaving them in a non-competitive pricing situation. Thus, the need to control their costs. Anything you can offer to show a major reduction in cost – you will win the account.
Now the Dilbert Comic characteristics believe that reorganizations are designed to cover up management mistakes or ineptitude. While I believe there can be merit to that theory, the reality is management is looking to improve their current operation. To be effective, structural changes may be necessary to create the desired results they need. Think about and be strategic about how you could assist in making the reorganization more effective.
- New Ownership or Top Management Shifts
Key change opportunity due to the high probably there will be a change in the vision of the future. Start meeting these new people and learn about their vision as quickly as possible. Opportunity is calling – answer the phone.
- New legislation impacting an industry
New laws and requirements can have a major or minor impact on a business. Great time for a white paper or new trends article based upon the new legislation. (example: the number of articles and presentations on the impact of the new Healthcare Legislation was huge. All were designed to help leaders and to be seen as a credible resource.
- Sudden Resignation of Key Managers or Executives
Major impact on the operations below this key person. If ethical behavior was a reason, then new vendor relationships are at the top of mind with the new or promoted managers. Position yourself as the good person.
- Downward Trends
Closely related to the financial results event, however, this could include the entire industry. Here you need to determine if you can really help the company. It may be an opportunity for a new or creative idea moving the common ideas to a new and innovative ideas. Help the customer diversify.
- Gaining a Large New Account
A huge new opportunity for the target account can open the door for you. May be the old supply source cannot keep up with the demands of the new volume of business. Again, an opening has occurred so increase your intensity.
- New Technology changing the Game
New technology can completely change the game for a target account – especially when they are not positioned or even familiar with the new technology. Time to show them the ropes and advantages of moving to your solution to take advantage of new world of opportunities.
- International crisis impacting an International Business unit
If you are working with multinational or international companies, then paying attention to world events becomes a necessary skill in your tool box. Again, you will need an automated alert system or news reader of international affairs plus time to reflect upon the possible impact upon the target accounts international business unit. Think strategically and win more often.
This is a quick list of major events influencing the need for change within a targeted account. By the way, this also holds true for your existing accounts and if you are not watching for these informative points – your competitors are doing it.
Watch the local business journals and the business sections for local companies. Also, take the time to sign up for internet alerts using the business journal networks and Google alerts. This way the announcements come directly to your computer or PDA.