I recently uncovered an interesting fact about what executives are looking for from the B2B Sales Person that improves the level of credibility for the b2b sales person.
This key is “Knowledge of Your Own Industry.”
Yes, during the past decade and a half, executives have doubled the importance of the Knowing Your Own Industry relative to a b2b sales person gaining credibility from the executive.
So how do you Know More About Your Industry?
Let’s take a look at a few ways to increase your knowledge and understanding of your own industry…
- Talk to the Other Sales People with Experience
Experienced and successful is the important part here. If your product line has been around for a long time, learn the history of the line and what major events have happened through the years. This can actually give you insight into critical milestones potential customers should have dealt with over the years.
- Talk to your Sales Manager and Ops People
Another longevity source of information and knowledge about your industry. Learn the progressions of critical improvements, industry issues and trends, issues complicating progress within the industry.
- Do Research on the Internet
The internet is like having your own personal library at your finger tips. Use the power of search engines to location everything you wanted to know about your industry and who are the players and what do they offer.
- Contact Your Local Trade Association Group for Your Industry
An excellent source for current issues and critical success factors. Organizations who are members allow for industry research on success and failures within the industry and provide this information to their members. Use this very valuable resource to learn about trends and issues.
- Go to National or Regional Conference / Conventions in Your Industry
Here you will find industry experts discussing trends and how to deal with critical issues impacting an industry and the economy. Go even if you must pick up your own expenses – you are looking for a personal advantage in your b2b selling.
- Create a Competition Matrix
Gather information from every source you can and deliver a competitor matrix of products and services offered. Include things like the model numbers, price, quality rankings, extended service, training, – anything to do with your competitors. This will also be increasing valuable when you locked into a competitive situation and you need to know how to best position your products or services against your main competitor.
- Know the Compatibility or Incompatibility of Product Lines or Systems
When you are selling solutions impacting the customers current systems – be it technology, processes, production or manufacturing systems, you must know about the compatibility or incompatibility between your solutions and their systems. This knowledge improves the implementation of your solutions. Your goal is to reduce any surprises during implementation, have a proven plan for dealing with issues and make certain it is a seamless deployment of your solution.
There is a quick reference list of things you can do to get totally up to speed regarding your industry. It is important – to your customer, so take the time to learn it.