Most sales training and advice focuses on what sellers should be doing to persuade, convince, and drive buyers toward closing a sale. As a seller, it is your job to bring the deal to a close. Doesn’t this mean the seller is in control?
This used to be true, but things have changed.
Sellers are no longer in control anymore. The buyers are.
However, this doesn’t mean that sellers are out of the game. When sellers understand how buyers buy, they can influence their decisions even more effectively.
1. The bar is at an all-time high.
The modern buyer expects a lot from sellers, especially if you are selling high-end B2B products and services. As a seller, you need to be fluent in all aspects of the sale – from a knowledge of the buyer’s process to a strong grasp of the products and services versus your competition.
But, is that enough?
The reality is, buyers expect you to behave more like high-end management consultants than a traditional salesman.
Sales departments and companies, need to ensure that their teams develop key skills like critical thinking. The problems you’re facing are more complex than ever. You need to be able to influence high-level executives while staying on top of the latest technological and social developments across relevant fields.
You need to act as a trusted advisor and help your customers recognize pitfalls and suggest options. Your critical thinking skills will come in handy in these situations rather than your sales skills and make it easy for your customers to do business with you.
2. There’s more competition than ever.
With companies keeping a tight lease on costs due to COVID19 and markets moving towards information parity, there has been an increase in the number of direct competitors for opportunities.
Almost every day, new business models arise which might be providing a more attractive alternative to your products and services. Couple this to easy access to cutting edge technology and it means more competition from both traditional players as well as hungry, new upstarts. Whether you are providing high-end premium products or low-cost services, there is constant movement in the market.
When creating strategies and evaluating competition, remember to ask buyers who they see as your direct competitors and what alternatives they want. Chances are, your buyers see valuable alternatives you don’t even know exist. You can use the information you get to optimize your pitch and/or evolve.
3. The change from information asymmetry to information parity.
We live in the Information Age. Just ask Google. Your customers know this and they are constantly researching potential partners. The pond is also considerably larger (especially in today’s ever-shrinking globalized world).
Your buyers are better informed, and you, the seller is constantly being involved only in the later stages of the process. When you finally get an opportunity to sink your teeth, you aren’t expected to sell, but rather consult with the buyer. The buyer who has, more often than not, already defined his/her problem and knows how to solve it.
How do you get around this problem?
Your team should focus on research and prep. You should know their problem, industry and challenges by heart. The salesperson should come across as well informed when asked the tough questions. A big part of the modern sales team should be to stop focusing so much on selling. Rather, the focus should be on collaborating with your buyer to develop a solution. There needs to be a movement from diagnosing needs to understanding needs.
You need to realize in every challenge there lies an opportunity. This type of thinking drives my team at Alep Digital. My colleagues embody the modern salesperson, they are smart and dedicated to cultivating a deep knowledge of the industry (the SaaS industry in this case) to guide your customers through the sales process.
Contact us to know more!