Today's blog post is by Lou Schachter. Lou Schachter heads the sales and marketing practice at BTS. He is the co-author of Selling Vision and The Mind of the Customer, both of which were published by McGraw-Hill.
Today’s sales methodologies are outdated. Sales and marketing leaders agree – it’s time for a change.
Most common sales methodologies were developed in the 1980s. Despite updates, they don’t reflect the modern selling environment that exists today. More recent methodologies that have been widely adopted are hard to implement, and only work in certain situations with certain people. Clearly, what’s available is no longer working.
So, what has changed? We turned to leading sales and marketing leaders – as well as their customers and buyers – to find out. Through more than two years of research, we discovered there has been a fundamental transformation in the way people buy, which requires sales leaders to successfully execute sales change.
The Buying Paradox: Buying Is Slower Despite the Need for Agility
In the digital world, buyers have more information than ever, and that creates more complexity than ever.
More stakeholders are involved in each buying decision, and they have competing needs. At the same time, corporate priorities are changing frequently. The world seems like it’s speeding up, yet making good decisions quickly is increasingly challenging. These factors create a situation we call the “buying paradox”: Buying is slower despite the desire for agility.
Let’s take a step back and review how we got to this point. In the mid-20th century, salespeople with the best product knowledge had a distinct advantage over their competitors because they could best fill their customers’ needs. But the advent of the Internet and globalization commoditized “product selling.”
Sales forces responded by wrapping together bundles of products and services to solve “problems” that were larger than needs – “solution selling.” But then everyone started doing it.
What B2B Buyers Want from Salespeople Today
This brings us to today. The current era of sales is defined by customers seeking salespeople who have a deep understanding of their
- industries, and
- desired business results.
Today, world-class salespeople must focus on accelerating customers’ desired business results. This requires salespeople to apply enough business acumen to define what value means to each customer. Customers want the personalized touch and customized value proposition – and they’re willing to pay a premium for it.
Furthermore, buying cycles have changed, too. Historically, buying cycles were represented as forward-moving linear paths. Today, however, decisions often stall and go backwards. Because of competing stakeholder values in the buyer’s paradox, a change in corporate priorities, a new stakeholder, or new information – or even the decision just getting too complex – can make the buying cycle come to a halt. Or the stakeholders can return to an earlier stage and start over.
Sales Teams Need Value Propositions Customized to Buyer Needs
So, what’s the solution? If you want your salespeople to accelerate buying, and therefore accelerate selling, you need a sales methodology that helps salespeople create buyer-specific value propositions. This requires more involvement with more stakeholders – but doing so will produce impressive results.
At BTS, we have a sales methodology that will help you create the buyer-specific value propositions you need, and accelerate your sales. To learn more, visit our Website. I’ll leave you with one final question. Is your current sales methodology truly reflective of the world you sell into? Or, have times changed?