Sometimes it makes no sense when experienced and effective b2b sales suddenly begin to fail when selling new products in their markets.
What is happening to these experienced and good sales people to have issues hitting their numbers?
Well, in my opinion there are two major reasons for this decline in effectiveness when selling new products.
- Too Many Details and No Problem Identification
- Calling on the Wrong Type of Decision Maker
Let’s first look at number one – Too Many Details (Features) and No Identified Problems to Fix. This is primarily an issue started by the Product Manager or the Marketing Manager in charge of the new product roll out.
The Marketing/Product Manager act like engineers and focus upon the new bells and whistles offered by the new product. In other words, product details are the focus to the sales people, who in turn when face to face with a buyer or decision maker begin to parrot the details of the products. In fact, sales research shows sales people will use these 3 times greater than their normal sales practice or methods.
The key to changing the results with new products is for the Marketing/Product Manager to gain a better understanding of the benefits of the new product. What problems is it designed to eliminate or manage for the customer’s organization? How much will it save the customer or be more productive or effect for the customer’s processes? These questions must be answered if the sales team is to improve their new product roll outs.
The second reason is a behavioral style issue. The sales people who understand this rule of thumb focus upon the types of buyers who are ready and willing to buy new products by taking a calculated risk in order to gain an advantage in the marketplace.
On the other hand, when sales managers insist that ALL the customers and prospects should be offered the new product within a specific time frame – well, the results will be unfavorable and the gap created by this sales action can be difficult to cross in the future.
The facts are about half the population has no interest in being the first to buy anything that is new and “unproven.” That is the key factor – unproven. In the eyes of many corporate buyers and decision makers the term unproven sounds unsafe. Therefore, these buyers types refuse to make a buying decision until the product has been around for a specific period of time and has a number of verifiable success stories. These success stories will convert the product from unproven to proven which is now a safer decision for the buyer.
When a sales team is aware of the behavioral differences of buyer types, they are able to make better choices regarding which product combinations can be offered to any specific buyer type and have a high probability for success. The unaware are offering everything to every buyer and scratching their heads as to why they are getting so many “no’s.”
Get the Marketing or Product Managers either researching how or what problems their new products solve. Then develop marketing pieces about the problems it solves and use them to engage warm leads for the sales team. – This is the best method for excellent success with new products.
Sales Managers need to do two things – 1) Insist the new products are presented showing the problems solved and the anticipated savings or revenue increases to be gained by the use of the new product. 2) Have the sales team focus upon the early adopter types to gain leverage in the market. Resist the temptation to offer the new products to everyone on the customer list – it will not help your numbers or targets. Lay down a success track record with success stories and this will allow the traditional buyers the proof that a safe decision can be made.
There you have the reason for slow growth from new products and the best ways to improve your positioning and your b2b sales results.