So it is 2023. And it seems most sales guru's have created systems that have a proven trackrecord pre-covid. Has anything changed?
For me the answer is a very clear yes. Since Covid customers get about twice as many emails and are becoming better at filtering them. You want a quick scoping call? You expect an answer to your personalised cold email? Trust me: times have changed.
One of the sales methodologies I see changing the industry, and working really well in B2B sales is based on fixed steps, and providing value. Most customers have done their research, so no need to tell them what your product in general does. If marketing did their job, that is already done.
In my method I focus on high value B2B sales and would want a different conversation for each step.
Step 1: Understand the customer.
This is possibly the hardest step for most sales reps. Understand the processes involved with the product you sell. If applicable: get permission to go through their system or ask documents about their processes. Ask probing questions and actively listen to the customer's responses. By taking the time to understand the customer's needs, sales reps can tailor their approach to better meet those needs and demonstrate their expertise. So step 1 is about the pain, not about the solution. Doing this in a separate meeting is essential as it requires a different mindset. This also allows the rep to build a customised presentation.
Step 2: Challenge the customer's status quo.
Do not focus on what your product can do and what the customer already knows. Too many sales reps sound exactly the same. Share new information about market-trends and what you uncovered in step 1 and challenge them. This means questioning assumptions and suggesting new ways of doing things. This way the rep can help the customer see the benefits of change and the potential for improvement. The goal is to start painting a picture that there is a better way, but not to give a detailed solution. Again: one step at a time.
Step 3: A tailored solution.
By now the customer ideally trusts your company understands the problems and pains they encounter. And this is the time to bring it home. Walk through the part of your solution that solve for the customer. This is not yet the time to talk about cost, this is the time to shine in how much value your company can bring and how it can bring the customer closer to their goals. The reps should structure this in a way that paints a picture where the needs are met and goals are achieved. This allows the customer to see the value of the product or service and how it can help them achieve their goals.
This should overever not be a conversation about the cost, but purely about processes and solutions.
Step 4: Take control of the sale.
Communicate the offer and take control of the sales process. In many cases the customer was ready to buy at step 3, even before knowing the price. Because in step 3 we delivered the value. The sales rep should have a clear understanding of the customer's needs, buying committee, and potentially the cost of alternatives and tailor their approach accordingly. They should also be able to anticipate any objections or concerns and be prepared to address them.
Step 5: Overcome buyer indecision.
This step is often not required, but if it is: do not fall into the pitfall of repeating the same information you have already given.
Place yourself in the buyer's shoes. Their name will be associated to the deal and the decision. If it later proofs to be unsuccessful for whatever reason their reputation and possibly even career is on the line. Be open: ask what they need. Maybe a money-back guarantee? Maybe a shorter contract term? But it would be much better at this point to try to provide certainties about the adoption and role-out. Can the rep upsell training that ensures this? Is there an onboarding service?