In the post-Internet era, the behaviour of buyers has radically changed, unfortunately selling behaviour hasn't changed much.
This imbalance produces consequences. A recent CSO Insights survey* found that sales quota performance worldwide is 59% and declining...WHY?
Declining quota performance is treated as a sales problem, but both marketing and sales share this burden of failure. The problem can be summarized as follows;
- Buyers will have identified a problem or need and visited vendor, industry-analyst Web-sites and Blogs via Google, gathering information months before a sales executive is contacted...this is the start of the sales cycle. (Would they find yours on the Internet among a sea of similar products today?)
- Most corporate marketing is poor at creating awareness in early stages of the selling cycle.
- Marketing's role is to reach buyers looking for information on how your product or service could be used to solve a problem or satisfy a need, not wasting time and money on features and benefits.
- When a buyer does make contact with a seller, the chances are the buyer already knows what they want and the price they want to pay.
- The sales rep arrives for a first meeting armed with a PowerPoint and LCD projector loaded with features and benefits and plays 20 questions....it's over!
What can sellers do to restore the balance?
I suggest performing the following sequence.
- Align sales and marketing messaging around how targeted-buyers can use your products and services to solve problems and satisfy needs and create visual stories that everyone on the customer facing team will learn to tell.
- Deliver WhiteboardSelling enablement training to help sellers consistently tell your story in a confdent, compelling manner.
- Train your sales team in consultative selling techniques and advanced communications skills.
- Have your sales team bring the gift of knowledge and insight to every sales call and frame best practices conversations around helping buyers achieve business goals using your products or services.
- Focus on effective diagnosis and qualification...poor diagnosis is the root of most sales problems.