3 Must-Do Tactics to Make Sales Happen
We all agree that buyers have changed. They do their research long before they see us. They either want help to craft a vision of their solution, if they don’t already have one. And, if they have one, they expect you to understand it. Also, there are many more decision makers involved in the process today.
If you expect to sell your solution, you need to be involved early on in the process.
If you’re sales, or one of the senior executives responsible for revenue goals, do you know that company meetings with executive buyers are not going as well as you think.
According to Forrester Research, if you want to compete more effectively then you must equip your salespeople to understand their buyers at a deep level. That means they must change their dialog to align with executive buyers earlier in the decision-making lifecycle.
When you get in early and help create the solution vision with the buyer, you win more. It’s that simple and that complicated. Forrester’s research proves that the win rate rises to 74 percent.
The question is “How do we help reps engage in a totally differentiated way and with deep buyer empathy? In most organizations it’s not possible without significant change in thinking. Why? Because of product-focused training.
It’s product-focused training that’s creating massively negative perceptions of sellers by executive buyers─the very ones you want your team to engage with early on.
Most salespeople spend a lot of time chasing prospects who are already actively searching out your solution or are already making a decision. If you join your competition at this stage, your chances of winning are slim. As Wayne Gretzky says, “you need to skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been. A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.”
There are three areas of focus to give yourself a head start on the competition.
1. Target Market Prospects with Similar Issues
As discussed in my recent e-book, How to Secure High-Value Executive Appointments, to get an edge on the prospect’s top of mind concern, you must understand precisely who you’re selling to.
You can rarely satisfy everyone in a market because not everyone in the target segment likes the same thing or has the same issues.
So in a B2B sale, different buyers within the prospect’s organization hold different interests and concerns. That’s why we target markets by dividing the market into segments. Then we identify and profile distinct groups of buyers who might prefer or require various products, services or solution mixes by examining demographic, psychographic, and behavioral differences among buyers.
You’re attempting here to do an early sketch of the buyer’s journey.
We also need to identify who we need to secure time with to create a new opportunity. Who is the best match for our solution? You need to put a lot of thought into this step.
In a B2B complex sale, you can segment the audience by shared characteristics in several ways such as by industry, geography, or title. By example, CFOs in Fortune 500 companies are likely to face similar issues as one another. Or hospital administrators in not-for-profit hospitals. For-profit hospital administrators will run up against slightly different needs, as they answer to shareholders.
Identifying needs before the prospect sees them will give you a competitive edge as a trusted advisor. Pull your sales team together and identify issues your target market is currently facing and develop an approach as we discuss in the e-book.
2. Capitalize on Triggering Events
You need to do your homework on prospects and look for triggering events. A trigger event could be a change in the law compelling the prospect to comply with the new regulation. It could be a shift in market segment, recession or boom, causing him to look at how he positions his firm in the marketplace. Or it could be a new competitor with a superior product at a lower cost.
Trigger events might be positive things like advances in technology that force companies to scramble to keep up with innovation. As an example, I found a prospect when they reported first-year revenues down below expectations. As I dug deeper, the company had launched a new product that didn’t increase the company’s revenues as expected. After following up with the company, I found it was the way they took the product to market that was the problem. I shared with them my experience and what others have done, it got me the meeting and under favorable conditions, too.
Trigger events lead buying influences to look for a solution and, consequently, they bring you into the picture. Buying influences or prospects typically do not change (or buy) until they’ve experienced a trigger event.
3. Focus on the Changes in Management
When management changes, usually organizations go through change, too. New management is coming in to make a difference, which usually involves change.
As part of your prospecting strategy, you should keep abreast of executives who are moving into new positions. That is why I daily I look at my LinkedIn account and send notes to contacts who are changing jobs.
I also have all of my prospects on Google Alerts to follow all the changes happening in the organization, including management changes. Google Alerts is a content change detection and notification service, offered by the search engine company Google. The service sends emails to the user when it finds new results─web pages, newspaper articles, blogs, management changes or scientific research─that match the user’s search terms.
I also use InsideView.com and have established a watch list for changes.
The key is to get on the new decision maker’s calendar as soon as you can, as most want to make a difference early.
To make it easier and more effective for you to get in early on shaping the buyer’s vision, and take advantage of that 74 percent win rate, follow these three tactics: 1) Target market prospects with similar issues; 2) Capitalize on trigger events; and 3) Focus on changes in management. You will be amazed at the clarity you’ll have, the confidence you’ll feel, and the results you’ll achieve.
See you on upside,
For more information on how to simplify the complex sale, go to www.pleinairestrategies.com Or call William L. MacDonald in San Diego at PleinAire Strategies LLC at 760.340.4277 or 213.598.4700