The title of this article may seem counterintuitive, but it’s fully in line with the new sales reality.
There has been a power shift in the sales process. Buyers are now in much more control of their purchasing decisions – and over the entire buying cycle. They have access not only to more information but to more high-quality information, faster than ever before. Consequently, your prospects prefer to ‘buy from’ rather than be ‘sold to’.
Nonetheless, businesses still invest in 'selling at' people – when spending more time and effort guiding them to buy would deliver much better results.
Today’s winning sales methodology is the one that prioritizes the needs, challenges, goals and interests of individual buyers. Instead of focusing on closing the sale as soon as possible, your salespeople must work to meet buyers where they are and then guide – not push – them through the decision-making process.
Let’s look at some best practices your sales organization can apply to load the odds in your favor for winning the hearts and minds of buyers – and secure their sales with minimal effort.
From Seller to Information Curator
The easiest sale is to someone that wants to buy. If the buyer wants your product/service, ‘selling’ in the traditional sense is not required. Instead, it’s about helping the buyer make informed decisions.
The sales people most likely to win in the new B2B sales landscape are far less focused on demonstrating personal expertise by dumping yet even more information into customer interactions – and far more focused on helping customers sort through information already available in multiple channels.
Your salespeople should act as “information connectors” to provide the frameworks and tools customers desperately need to efficiently organize and align their thinking. Providing customers with information specifically designed to help them advance their purchase drives trust and purchase ease. Consequently, your customers will reward you with bigger, higher-value deals accompanied by far less purchase regret.
Apply These Sales Best Practices
In addition to using product/service knowledge and provide buyers/influencers with information specifically designed to help them advance their purchase, your salespeople should apply the following sales success principles and levers:
1. Place the Buyer Journey and Experience at the Center
To maximize the chance of success, focus on your buyer and think about everything from their perspective. Ensure their experience is seamless across all marketing, sales and operational activities.
A focus on the buyer experience will drive the following change into an organization.
It will encourage and enable a joined-up experience as the buyer moves from initial inquiry through lead follow-up, quoting and ordering – including repeat orders.
Marketing, Sales and Sales Operations will use the same database to eliminate operational silos.
The learning curve for customer-facing staff will be faster. If a customer or partner can use the system to generate quotes and orders without training, so will an employee.
2. Increase Engagement
Engage prospects early, and the chances of them buying increases even further.
Respond fast: Ensure your organization can respond quickly to initial requests and subsequent queries.
Make it frequent: Encourage collaboration with stakeholders through the process and build relationships.
Be available: Enable and provide access to information whenever and however the buyer chooses.
3. Improve Quality
A commitment to consistent quality in the sales process is central to securing more sales.
Be accurate, correct and precise: Control product and service interdependencies, avoid costly mistakes and remove ambiguity from process and outputs.
Adopt best practices: Evaluate quote efficiencies and systematize best practices to raise everyone’s performance.
Ensure consistency: Make consistency your identity and empower new sales starters to confidently quote from day one.
Conclusion: When Buyers and Sellers Better Understand Each Other, Both Sides Win
To meet customers’ new buying preferences and boost sales, your sales organization must shift from the traditional “always-be-closing” sales strategy and adopt a ‘help first’ mindset.
Spend more time understanding what motivates your customer decisions and less time pushing to seal the deal. This means you must focus more on the customer buying process rather than on the customer selling process.
Helping B2B prospects buy today isn’t a sales problem; it’s an information problem.
By taking the time to guide your prospects through the information jungle and position yourself as a trusted resource early on in the decision-making process, you can ensure that you will be the first one that prospect reaches out to when they’re ready to make a purchase.
Making the buying experience easy, intuitive and as helpful as possible for those showing an interest in your products and services will result in higher conversions and lower costs.
Kevin's passion is helping companies become easier to buy from. He is a pioneer and thought leader in CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote). Quick to spot how technology (in particular CRM and product configuration software) enhances sales team performance, he was instrumental in the development of cloud based CPQ applications. He co-founded BlueprintCPQ in 1999, and built this to become one of the most powerful and flexible CPQ platforms. BlueprintCPQ was acquired by Xait in December 2020 where Kevin is Head of CPQ practice and Managing Director of Xait Ltd where he continues to apply his innovative thinking and experience to drive sales efficiency.
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