“What we are finding is those salespeople who relied on their personality [to win business] are now struggling, with those who follow a process now exceeding them in performance.” – VP of Sales, SBR Client

Forrester, in their report Death of the B2B salesperson (see diagram below), highlighted that a ‘show me’ approach that ‘explainers’ take, which may have worked previously, especially where overlaid with personality (as they say, people buy from people) is no longer sustainable.

 

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The ‘show me’ approach has long been evident in some sales environments. We have observed this consistently in tech markets, where salespeople take a technology focused approach rather than a market-based approach, relying on the customer to see the value of purchasing. How often do we recruit salespeople based on their personality and our perception of how this will help them to sell to our customer base, rather than their understanding of and ability to follow a process?

Now, with the change in the buyers dynamic, market conditions and, in some instances, target customer, an approach of ‘enlighten me’, taking a consultative and outcomes / value approach, is required. If we are going to enable success within our sales team, we need to provide a process for salespeople to follow when engaging with customers. A sales methodology.

There is a plethora of sales methodologies available – we have developed our own, QUIS™, as well as worked with organisations to create their own, unique to their market and customer base. The topic of how to create and deploy a sales methodology is for another time. The message here is that whichever direction you take, define a methodology to provide the sales team with a track to run on to get to the stage where they can ‘enlighten’ customers.

With the current climate it makes sense to highlight how the new way of working can impact our customer engagement and methodology. This is best highlighted by reviewing Edgar Dale’s cone of experience, which highlights the percentage of what we remember after 2 weeks (see below):

 

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Given the obvious barriers, the challenge is now to get our customers ‘participating’ and ‘doing’ – something that was a lot simpler before, especially where salespeople had a personality that was conducive to getting people involved easily.

With that in mind, when you think about the methodology your team are going to take, it is worth considering how you are going to get your customers involved to differentiate yourself from the competition and “just another zoom presentation”. With the technology available, there are various ways to do this, and we have been helping our clients to leverage this advantage providing frameworks to ensure they are communicating with impact when engaging with customers.

For those of you with a sales methodology, I would recommend, as we at SBR Consulting have done, reviewing as to the extent to which the methodology provides structure as well as the ability to engage with customers.

If a defined sales methodology does not currently exist in your sales team, it is now as important as ever to provide the structure required to achieve sales success when engaging with customers.

Either way, consider the question of whether your sales methodology acts to differentiate you from your competition and enable sales success?

Tim Hillier, Principal Consultant (thillier@sbrconsulting.com)

 

To talk to us more on how you can improve your sales process, please get in touch by emailing info@sbrconsulting.com or call us on +44 (0) 207 653 3740.

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