Complex B2B sales is in an ever-changing and evolving phase. A complex combination of factors contributing to this include the buyer, business needs, technologies, the information/data era, specialised economic environments etc.
While all these changes are good and create opportunities for growth in a much wider scale than we ever thought possible, it no doubt presents a huge challenge in the sales world and all other organisational functions that are increasingly being tasked with aligning and contributing to growth.
With the evolution of these external and internal organisational factors come the challenge that sales has to face; to adapt an equally evolving approach to the role. A role that is sometimes perceived as a solo entity but far more encompassing than generally meets the eye.
Sales combines internal and external resources, scenarios, possibilities and an ardent front-facing technique to make the wider organisational growth and goals happen. This is perhaps what is becoming widely accepted as ‘Sales Enablement’.
This is however such a co-operative effort and this explains why only the strongest alignment between sales, marketing, product, customer service and strategy teams will create win/win situations between organisations and the customers (external/internal stakeholders).
So, what are the key traits that the salesperson in this new environment exhibit, I hear you ask?
- Buyer’s Challenge – an astute and advanced insight into the buyer and his wider business and environmental challenges.
- Solution – ability to unearth what a solution looks like for this buyer regardless of what solution the sales person’s company is widely known to provide.
- Outcome/Value – tenacity to probe and enable the buyer to articulate personal, business value and outcomes. Documented with wider stakeholder benefits in alignment with corporate goals.
- Close (Key People/Plan) – Ability to spot and close at the place and time. The close only happening after the buy-in of all key stakeholders; with a plan that aligns with individual and collective corporate agenda.
- Information/Data – Appropriate use of data from all relevant sources in a digital world and the ability to glean and use only the most salient to make a deal happen quicker.
- Process – Ability to use tried and tested sales methods as well as recognising their own spin on this process which seem to have worked for them time and time again.
- Skills – Consistently refreshing their skills in their industry, markets and possessing teacher/learner qualities. In addition to these learned skills is their ability to tap into and develop their own innate skills and abilities (including the well-known ‘intuition, gut feelings, inner voice’ and all the other words we use to describe non-quantifiable skills).
- The Bonus Point – At every stage while exhibiting these 7 key traits and during the sales cycles, the most evolved salespeople do check in to ensure they have a win/win situation at hand. A key element of this is ensuring they are building deeper relationships not just to close a deal, win a sale or make a target number.
Although these objectives are important, the greatest trait I’ve seen exhibited is the vision and execution of deeper relationships that lead to long-term clients and greater account growth with the prospects. This is mapped out and enforced at every stage of the prospect journey. More often than not, it leads to a long-term client, with positioned upsell/cross-sell opportunities. This goes into accruing additional spend from the prospects months and years into their client journey.
This is what evolution of sales and organisations as a whole is about. Strategising and creating win/win situations for sellers and buyers for longer term relationships and greater profitability.
This is what I call Human-Centered Selling©!
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Maggie Sarfo is a passionate author, advisor and mentor for ambitious business executives, entrepreneurs and professionals looking to explode sales revenue, create new markets or access their highest potential. Her blog is her playground, where she explores the topics of business growth, personal growth and peak performance. Download Your Free eBook – Evolution of the Buyer.