Salespeople love attention grabbing figures. So here’s one. In 2018, less than 50% of B2B salespeople are likely to hit their targets.
There’s no hiding. Sales has got a lot harder.
On average, today’s clients are having to justify their purchasing decision to 6.8 other stakeholders. That’s 6.8 people who will hold them responsible if they make the wrong call. That’s a lot of pressure.
The way people buy has changed, but the way many people sell hasn’t. If you want to smash your sales target, you need to shift your perspective and consider how B2B clients make decisions and then make it easier for them to do so.
Sitting in the shoes of your client
Most salespeople who want to boost sales do so by increasing the numbers of potential clients they engage with. When they do, they focus on shouting about their products in the hope of getting the client to ‘choose’ them over others.
But this isn’t addressing the root of the problem. Clients want to minimise risk and it’s easier to stick with what they know than make changes. You aren’t necessarily competing against your business rivals, your competing against your client’s status quo.
You must give your potential client a compelling reason to change their approach, before you can truly sell them on choosing.
The new sales process
A good sales process should make it easier for clients to buy. Your sales process should be reimagined to become a client buying process that looks like this:
Most salespeople jump straight to step two and don’t offer any support for step three. But results will be far better if you focus on the way your client thinks about their situation and the how they can secure better outcomes.
Step one: Change
Help your client understand the challenges they face and why their existing approach will not solve matters (or might be creating the challenge in the first place).
Some clients may be fully aware of the problems they need to overcome but aren’t sure how to respond. Others may be unaware they could be doing things more efficiently, at lower cost or with better results. You must open their eyes to new options and inspire a ‘lightbulb’ moment within them – shining a light on the persuasive reason for them to take the risk of changing things.
The best way to do this is to create a narrative that not only illustrates the reason to change, but gives them the confidence to take what can be a nerve-racking first step.
Step two: Choose
For a salesperson, the ‘choose’ step is the most natural part of the process. After realising that their approach is part of the challenge they face, this stage should be relatively plain sailing. Your product should clearly be the opportunity that opens up a better way of working.
Step three: Champion
Once the client has decided to choose you, their role in the decision-making process hasn’t finished, it’s just begun. They now have to sell their choice to multiple internal stakeholders – an average of 6.8 people.
Your client isn’t a salesperson and won’t have your knowledge of the product or recall of facts and figures. You have to help them champion your product by giving them a narrative that communicates across all stakeholders why there is an urgent need to change.
The challenges faced by a company’s sales director are vastly different to that of a CEO. The narrative you create at the ‘Choose’ stage should present the features and benefits of your product to each stakeholder in a way that cuts through, giving them their own individual lightbulb moments.
Make change welcome, not feared
People don’t like change. But the Change – Choose – Champion model maps your approach to the client’s buying process and will have a dramatic impact on your sales revenue.
The B2B world has changed, are you ready to change with it?
To learn more about the strategies discussed in this article and get further insight into the way clients buy and what top sales professionals are doing differently to win business, join us at the PPA Public Course: Selling to Today’s Buyers [September 25, 2018].
This one-day version of Flume’s Industry renowned training programme is available to all PPA and IPN members at a heavily discounted rate. Can you afford to miss it?