May 14, 2016

The Challenge

Today’s sales leaders are experiencing a ‘Perfect Storm’ of challenges…

  • The internet is changing the way we sell
  • Technical buyers giving way to the business user
  • Business relevance at the forefront to major purchases

As the move towards a digitalised world increases, as does the need for our sales teams to adopt a more customer centric sales approach.

It is now not enough to just align selling skills at product and solution levels but to the business results and outcomes engagements deliver.

Information from the internet allows customers to be better briefed on available options before any formal sales campaign is undertaken, relegating the relationship to a supplier mode before any opportunity to provide value can be established.

As the internet is forcing traditional sales activities later in the buying cycle and therefore, it be comes harder to influence any form of differentiable offering.

How we demonstrate value in the early stages of the relationship is critical if we are to halt the downward direction towards price sensitive discussions.

Resulting in;

  • Poor Forecast accuracy
  • lower and unpredictable closure
  • Lengthening sales cycles

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Change and movement is inevitable in any business and organisations have to adapt and evolve or be a business casualty. The challenge we face is how to react and successfully navigate through times of increased change. The options companies have vary and no path is uniform.

They may decide to;

  • Do nothing and hope all will get better
  • Focus on reducing internal costs to maintain margin levels
  • Bridge the transition gap from Solution to Outcome Selling

Research undertaken by Advantus indicates just providing ‘solutions’ or becoming better at what you do is no longer sufficient to remain ‘strategic’ in the eyes of their customers. It is now essential for sales organisations to understand their customers business, key processes and required business results for each account.

However, optimizing a sales force to compete in a new world is frought with a new set of challenges. The potential gain of increasing margins, improved customer retention, and new market penetration is often balanced by the cost of transitioning with longer sales cycles, higher sales and marketing costs and incremental cost rises from the development of business outcome based propositions. Even bridging from Product to Solution selling, 75% of companies that attempt the transition fail to recuperate their investment.

In a quarterly driven sales culture, the transition from Product to Solution, or Solutions to Outcomes is tough. Company expectations to deliver ever increasing number has to be balanced with having the right people, process and culture to actually achieve a more strategic position with customers.

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Having a sales force that can bridge the transition gap is key to success but of course not every salesperson has the natural talent and trainable attributes to make this journey, let alone move into the world of business outcome selling. Companies who were successful in this change radically changed their selling approach and if necessary the sales talent.

With the stakes so high, Advantus has bought together key specialist companies in behavoural change, sales processes, talent assessments and development programs to ensure our clients have the best available resources to bridge the transition gap and begin the sales acceleration journey.