No salesperson sets out to seem ordinary. But in the eyes of buyers today, nearly two-thirds of sellers fail to set themselves apart from one another, according to the CSO Insights 2018 Buyer Preferences Study. As a result, buyers:
- See sellers as product representatives, not solvers of business problems. Buyers turn to eight other types of resources first, including websites, colleagues and online communities, before sellers
- Bring sellers into the buying process later, when their insights have less impact on buyers
- Lack loyalty to a company or seller
You, however, want to be among the 32% of sellers that buyers say outshine the competition in your space. How can you get there? Incorporate these four tactics, based on proven sales training techniques that use perspective to engage key buying influences.
Perspective provides your customers education and insight beyond products and services—and sets your sellers apart from the competition. When a sales organization drives perspective into its approach to customers, win rates go up by 12%. And for those sales organizations that master delivering perspective, win rates climb to 23%. Looking to add value and insights for your customers? Start with these four methodology-based sales practices.
1. Use an Effective Formal Process to Gain Access to and Engage Key Decision Makers
Gaining access to key decision makers is a prerequisite for winning a deal. Yet access is just the first step: you’ll next have to build your credibility by offering value, or perspective.
Each buying influence perceives value differently. For example, a CFO likely wants to learn about the business case for your solution, while the VP of product development needs to hear about its features and functions. Therefore, salespeople need to tailor their approach to each buying influence and connect the dots between their solution and the buying influence’s pain points and goals.
To navigate between buying influences, sellers need to offer perspective that articulates value for each buying influence at each stage of their journey.
2. Use Call Planning Tools to Prepare for Customer Interactions
Sales professionals should—and do—plan for calls and meetings with prospects and customers. It’s how sellers spend almost 20% of their time, according to the CSO Insights 2018–19 Sales Performance Report.
But not every seller has tools for call planning, and not all of those with these tools use them effectively. The 2019 CSO Insights World-Class Sales Practices Study found that only 26% of respondents consistently use call planning tools as part of their enterprise sales strategy, compared to 74% of world-class sellers.
Sellers need to use sales training techniques to teach their frontline salespeople how to most effectively use call planning tools, including creating a well-defined call preparation process that’s selective about when sellers should document their process. The tool should also connect with sales methodology that helps sellers decide when and how to best deliver perspective.
3. Consistently Conduct Mutually Valuable Sales Calls with Customers and Prospects
The number of world-class sellers who report consistently conducting mutually valuable sales calls is more than double than that of all survey respondents: 91% to 43%. Salespeople at world-class organizations follow a customer-centric, problem-oriented and value-based sales approach to ensure that sales calls are mutually valuable.
This sales effectiveness framework should consist of three elements. First, organizations should encourage sellers to design, prepare and practice their sales calls to develop their skills and receive coaching from their managers. Sales enablement leaders should participate in developing foundational selling skills as well as analytical and value messaging skills.
Second, sales enablement should aligned to the goals of every stage of the customer’s path, from awareness to purchase, and to each buying influence. Organizations that align sales enablement with the buying cycle improve their win rates by up to 11.5%, according to the CSO Insights Fourth Annual Sales Enablement Study.
Finally, sellers that master providing perspective during calls—whether it’s through sharing sales content, offering advice or asking questions—close 23% more deals than those who don’t. To offer perspective, sellers need foundational selling and communication skills, plus business acumen and an interest in solving the buyer’s problems: all three combine to give sellers the confidence to have conversations that lead to the desired goal of delivering value.
4. Ensure That Your Customers Have a Consistently Positive Interaction in Every Channel
Throughout the customer lifecycle, buyers come into contact with various teams, from marketing to sales to service. It’s essential that they have a great experience with every touchpoint, even if each group follows different processes and uses different systems.
To ensure a seamless customer experience, every customer-facing team should adopt a customer-centric mindset. When every team aligns around the same customer goals, they eliminate friction in the buying process and meet—if not exceed—customer expectations, regardless of how, where and when they engage.
Ready to Join the Ranks of World-Class Sellers?
Perspective gives sellers the greatest opportunity to stand out among a crowded field of sellers and to exceed buyers’ expectations. Take the new Sales Conversation Metric Diagnostic now to find out where you excel and where to improve your delivery of perspective and create a sales effectiveness framework that moves you ahead of the competition.