Today's post is by LaVon Koerner, Chief Revenue Officer of Revenue Storm, which he cofounded in 2000 to offer companies worldwide a suite of comprehensive, proven tools and techniques for profitable revenue growth. Download Revenue Storm’s latest white paper, “How a Successful Coaching Strategy Increases Revenue.”
The way we conduct business today is different from how we conducted business in the past. We communicate differently, discover information differently, and share information differently. So while buyers are buying differently, are you selling differently?
If your sales organization is functioning as it did a few years ago, chances are you’re having problems hitting your revenue-growth goals, and when you reach the point at which there are not enough customers to be found, they will have to be made. That necessitates a change in your organization’s approach to market. Sales leaders need to stop depending on salespeople to just sell better and lead them to sell differently. To appreciate what it means to sell differently, compare these two very different approaches to selling:
● Demand Capture – Finding and fulfilling a preexisting and known need with a product or service in order to solve a known pain. This is the traditional approach to selling used by most organizations for the past 30-plus years.
● Demand Creation – Creating within an individual and/or organization a burning, “must have” need for a product or service in which there was previously little to no interest in order to fulfill a newly conceived vision of some coveted gain.
We know that the way information is shared has evolved. Ninety-three percent of B2B buyers use an Internet search to begin the buying process. The sales professional is no longer the conduit of basic data. Sales organizations and salespeople who don’t get this are becoming obsolete. The advancement of the Information Age is forcing the redefinition of the sales professional’s role in B2B selling.
This transformation changes the organization’s dependence on buyer-initiated buying processes to seller-initiated sales campaigns. That means that selling is no longer just a function of uncovering and/or responding to preexisting demand but is about creating demand where none existed before. The nature of this demand is typically not product-centric but business-centric. This requires educating the customer about a business gain that might not have been on his or her radar.
The days of reactive, order-taking salespeople are numbered. The demand-capturing salesperson’s role as simply an information provider has been downgraded. When combined with the growth of e-commerce and the resulting de-emphasis on the service provider as an order taker and processor, it leaves one wondering, “What is their role? How can their role even be justified?”
The answer is to shift focus toward the human end of the spectrum. The Internet provides product and pricing access and ease. What it doesn’t provide is innovative judgment and the ability to alert a customer to unknown areas of gain. The sales professional of the future will need to excel in this area – working with the prospect, sifting through and distilling data to help achieve a solution for advancing his or her company in new and creative ways. This is the heart of demand creation. You can either change now because you want to, or you can change later when you have to.
Selling is changing. Are you ready?