Though everyone around us have been telling us that the we are going through a techtonic shift in how people buy, one does not realize the magnitude of the change until it hits us.
So, today, I was talking to one of my friends who sells enterprise software for a living. He was complaining on how difficult life is becoming, with ever increasing quotas and ever demanding customers and prospects. If you feel the same, i believe that you are now affected by this giant shift in the buying patterns of your customers.
Now, the question is what does this mean if i am a sales man?
—- Selling is not about selling, anymore!!!
It doesn’t matter what you are selling..
If you are selling products or solutions that are commodity, selling could become more and more about finding new prospects and closing before someone else finds them. This means that your success could depend a lot on
- Visibility: Do you or your products/services pop up when your prospects search about their challenges and how to solve them. Note that it is not about your products or services anymore (it never was, but you could get by earlier, not now). It is about your prospects discovering you/your products/services when they want to find information about how to solve their challenges.
- Speed – How fast can you move these prospects through the sales cycle. Do you have a self-service option? How easy is it to do business with you.
If you are selling highly complex products/services through a complex sales process, then your ability to sell more will depend a lot on the following:
- Listen & Surprise : You need to be able to surprise your customers or prospect by anticipating the challenges that they might face in the future and connect that with how your products or solutions can address these challenges (if possible address them even before they arise). You can only be able to do that if you are listening to your customers, their customers, their customers’ customers, their partners, etc.
- Process driven: You need a clearly defined sales process and more importantly that it is always followed. The sales process should have a step which requires you to reach out to the partners and customers of your customers to understand their challenges in working with your customer.
- Simplicity: Make it simple for your customers to work with you. This is a big thing. In large, complex deals, people expect a complex contracting and closing process. If you are going to keep this simple, you will surprise your customers. And such surprises are the stories that people want to talk about.
Hence, selling is not about selling anymore.. It is about following a process, its about speed, its about listening and surprising your customers/prospects, its about being simple. Its about knowing more about your customers business than they know it themselves!
Mostly, it is about surprising them !!
Do let me know your thoughts on this topic as well. You can write a comment below or tweet your thoughts to me at @rmukeshgupta.