“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

Though a “show me” approach may have worked in the past, especially when overlaid with a persuasive personality, Forrester, in their report Death of the B2B Salesperson (see diagram below), have highlighted that it is no longer sustainable.

 

 

The Explainers’ way has been evident for a long time in certain sales environments. We have observed it consistently in tech markets, where salespeople tend to remain focused on the technology itself rather than on the market, 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 sell to our customer base – after all, people buy from people, don’t they? – rather than gauging their understanding of and ability to follow a process?

Now, as buyer dynamics change, along with market conditions and, in some instances, target customers, a corresponding shift to an “enlighten me” approach is becoming increasingly necessary. In the consultative method, focus is placed emphatically on outcomes and value. If we want to set up our sales teams for success in this context, we need to provide a process for salespeople to follow when they are engaging with customers: a sales methodology.

There are a plethora of sales methodologies available – we have developed our own, QUIS™, and we’ve worked with other organisations to create theirs to be 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):

 

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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