Selling in today's environment can be very frustrating for both sales as well as company management. With the continual influx of technology and the maturity of the internet, the process of selling has changed forever. Clients are far more educated on a seller's products and services before they decide to have a formal discussion. Several studies have shown that the client buying process is 57%-74% complete before a seller is initially contacted. This is putting a radically different demand on the traditional sales process and sales teams. Traditionally, sales responsibility had fallen directly on the salespeople and sales management. Today, sales success requires many people across the enterprise in addition to Sales to close business. In the traditional sales process, you had one maybe two people whom you had to convince that you had the best solution. Today there is an average of 5.3 people that you need to win over, all having different agendas and perspectives of what the solution needs to provide. Overlooking the critical need for consensus building is causing many sales campaigns to stall or eventually die after significant time and money have been spent by the selling organization.
Another perspective that is affecting today's sales process is the lack of differentiation within products/services that are available in the market. Without question, a superior product, price, and brand give you an advantage but because the customer is 57%-74% down the path of their buying decision the time to justify your uniqueness and communicate your differentiation is greatly shortened. Therefore, the need to create a strong value proposition, positioned for the success of the customer is so very important. As much as product/service superiority can generate competitive advantage, taking that advantage and maximizing its application is the key to optimize profitability and improve sustainable win-rates. We all know that it has been proven time and time again that in specific sales situations the best product/service does not always win.
Many enterprises are tweaking the traditional sales process and not looking at the problem holistically. For example, only focusing on sales training for the salesperson and sales managers to improve selling skills is not enough. Other companies are investing in sales systems thinking that if we just capture the data the results will improve. It is true you need to collect data but how to use the data is the critical element. In today's Sales process the competitive advantage is how you sell not what you sell.
In order to think holistically, you need to ask additional questions. Are you looking at qualifying the situation properly? Do you measure your ability to win? Are you able to discern the multiple agendas of your client and determine which ones will lead to success? Are your messages in your presentations crisp and concise? Are your meeting agendas’ moving the buying process forward? Are you qualifying the real problem or are you chasing a symptom? Is your product or service giving the client what they are expecting or are you just pushing your agenda and ignoring the client. These are a few of the situations plaguing revenue growth engines of today leaving organizations in a quandary of what to do.
Companies are embarking on an approach called Sales Enablement hoping that it will solve their dilemma. However, Sales Enablement is not simple; it is not a silver bullet delivered by one individual. It is a comprehensive inter-related set of processes implemented with discipline and continuous oversight to ensure adherence to success. It is not complicated however it is complex.
Sales Enablement must be a holistic approach focused on changing “How to Sell”. Knowing what to do and how to do it is the key to successful Sales Enablement implementation. As a company proceeds with implementing Sales Enablement the need for seasoned sales experience is critical to determine where the issues lie and what is the most expedient way to generate business improvement. In addition, a critical element for success that is often overlooked is the need to coach various enterprise personnel on the tactics of success needed to address the ever-changing habits of the next generation buyer.
If you are experiencing this dilemma, I would suggest you evaluate the entire process and make the necessary changes in the proper areas recognizing today's buying process is a team effort. Holistic Sales Enablement implementation has proven to provide significant results to the revenue growth engine in less time than the traditional tweaks to the sales process often tried by many enterprises.
FHS Associates is a respected and discerning Enterprise Sales Execution Company. If you are having issues and challenges with your revenue engine, we would love to consider being with you to accelerate business improvements in your sales function. Contact us at FHS Associates to begin your business improvement!