Enableocity sales enablement-as-a-service Blog



3 min read

B2B Sales in Turmoil - Who Needs Salespeople?

By Mark Gibson on Fri, Oct 05, 2012

This three part blog series started with a guest post on the evolution of marketing and PR, by PR-consultant-turned-inbound-marketer  Ellie Becker

The series continues with a post on the changing perceptions and realities of the sales role in the B2B buying process with  Mike Bosworth. Mike Bosworth is the founder of  Solution Selling. From Solution Selling,  Customer Centric Selling was born. He is the co-founder of  Story Leaders in which he provides workshops and executive coaching, helping people learn how to use the powers of story and empathic listening to connect with, inspire, and influence change in others.
The series concludes with a post from Mark Gibson, entitled B2B Sales and Marketing in Transition, What's Working".

The Product is so Strong it Sells Itself! 

Guest Post by Mike Bosworth

Actually the above statement is a myth, complex B2B products still need to be sold, but anyone selling today will confess that it's way more difficult than it was 10 or 15 years ago. 

The buyer is firmly in charge of the buy-sell relationship and the role of a salesperson in many cases is in the facilitation of a  buying process

In a recent Sirius Decisions Perspective, CIO’s interviewed, solved their problems in the following order.
  1. Leverage search engines by entering the problem I am trying to solve or an initiative I’m considering.
  2. Explore a known vendor Website.
  3. Ask my team or colleagues to come back with a series of options.
B2B salespeople have become unwilling spectators in the buying process. According to the Savo Group, 85% of companies involve between 3-10 people in a buying decision and do not engage vendors until they are about 60-70% through a buying process.

At this point in the buy cycle, the buyer pretty much knows what they need to solve their problem and who the players are with viable offerings, what remains is to convince top management they made the best decision for the company and were able get the best price from the vendor they emotionally wanted to buy from, their ‘preferred’ vendor. 

With the exception of the top 10-15% of salespeople who typically run most deals, this new buying approach excludes salespeople until the buyer is ready to talk to a salesperson. 

The members of this elite group of salespeople, who are able to engage earlier in the buy cycle, are the initiators of deals, the instigators of action, the challengers and the status-quo busters, who are able to connect with buyers.

Once connected, they are able to engage in conversation around buyer issues and develop trust and influence through the insight and industry knowledge they bring as trusted advisors first and salespeople second.

Buyers Aren’t Looking for Relationships with Salespeople

All process and competency falls short if pushed on the buyer before there is an emotional connection. Trust comes from an emotional connection first and demonstrated competence second. If buyers feel connected with you, they will allow you to then demonstrate your competence. 

We have all had occasions over the years to emotionally connect with strangers who are so compelling to us that we say to ourselves, "whatever she is selling, I'm buying!” Bill Clinton is a great example of someone who can emotionally connect with people. Ideally, a salesperson can gain that kind of trust and influence with a buyer before they bring out their offering.

Buyers used to need sellers for information about new products, technology roadmaps and industry trends and they would pretend to be interested in order to get that information. 

Today, they do not need the seller for information. When they get a 'touch' opportunity today, salespeople have to have the ability to get the buyer to want to buy from them as human beings.

If you can connect emotionally with buyers and bring insight to the table that truly creates value, you have can have a relationship with any buyer. Is it any wonder that just 13% of sellers are delivering 87% of the revenue? (Sales Benchmark Index).

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Topics: sales B2B selling process buying process
4 min read

The Challenger Sale - Book Review

By Mark Gibson on Thu, Mar 15, 2012

The Challenger Sale (TCS), by Matt Dixon and Brent Adamson is an important book for sales professionals and sales managers involved in complex B2B sales as it proves that a number of commonly held beliefs about sales behavior are obsolete. 
Its successor, (read my book review) The Challenger Customer - Book Review is even more valluable for marketers and sales enblement professionals as it inherits many of the concepts in this work and applies the sale level of rigor to examing how companies buy. The insights are worth ten times the price of the book.

Unlike many other "how-to-sell" books based on theories and ideas on improving sales performance, The Challenger Sale is underpinned by rich and extensive data from more than 6,000 sales professionals from more than 100 member companies, gathered over the past four years.

You are a Prospect for Challenger Sales Training

I don't have a problem (other reviewers did have), that TCS is produced by the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) and that the CEB is a member organization providing for-profit sales training for its members. They want to sell you Challenger Sales Development Services...in the same way every other author of sales performance literature wants to sell their services. It happens that we are very much aligned in our view of the sea-change that has occurred in buyer behavior and the need for new approaches in engaging buyers at the moments of truth when face-face.

If you are selling complex software, enterprise hardware or services in a B2B environment and haven't read The Challenger Sale yet, then perhaps this article might convince you it's worth reading at least once...regardless of where you get your sales development services.
Topics: sales performance challenger sale B2B selling process