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Over time, sales conversations have made a reputation for themselves. And it’s not exactly a positive one. Characteristically “salesy” discussions originate from the need to push a service or product before understanding a situation. Often when what began as a conversation turns into a sales presentation, the underlying issue is a stratified or piecemeal B2B sales strategy.
When aligning your sales strategy with your target buyer, consider your customer’s level of engagement and their situational context. By challenging the typical sales conversation framework through a teaching approach, we have found that customers begin to see you as authoritative, confident and qualified before you even begin presenting your offerings.
This type of B2B sales strategy requires a different approach from your typical pitch walk-through. So, we have compiled 3 keys to challenge the status quo sales conversation.
This places higher value on that first conversation you have with a potential buyer. This also indicates buyers are coming to an initial discovery meeting equipped with industry, business and product & service knowledge with researched expectations and drawn conclusions.1
57% of B2B buyers are doing their due diligence before initiating contact with a supplier.
To challenge the typical conversation starting point, “tell me your biggest pain point,” which has been the solution selling approach since the early 1990s, lead with a shock-factor commercial insight that welcomes a different view of the world into the room. A commercial insight is a carefully-crafted teaching that often includes a data point, statistic or didactic scenario. This insight asserts that you understand this customer’s business and you acknowledge an industry challenge they too are experiencing.
In doing this, you are adding a teaching component to your B2B sales strategy. This leads your potential customer one step closer to a self-discovered solution – you’re simply helping that process along.
Through a calculated approach, you can deliver the message that shows a direct fiscal impact as a result of what your potential buyer is or is not doing. On the heels of blowing their mind through a close-to-home, customer-tailored commercial insight, a clearly articulated impact analysis must follow. This comes by unpacking the problem at hand in order to display just how much impact is being realized by your audience.
This approach takes a broad stroke industry data point and tailors it to your customer’s specific situation. By taking this approach you are challenging the generic sales conversation that typically would skip straight to the benefits & features list.
Unpacking the problem to display the impact will often require on-the-fly calculations, modeling out ROI and white board sketching in a meeting to deliver a unique insight – this pushes your customers and requires you innovate around the unknown.2
At this point, you have seen your customer experience initial shock as a result of your teaching. Then, you have seen them experience realization of impact as a result of your tailoring the message. Now, it is time to build their confidence in your offerings with a tailored approach that showcases your strengths.
A good example of this type of B2B sales strategy comes from “The Challenger Sale”. In this example, a Kimberly Clark-Professional recounts a sales interaction that moved quickly from teaching & tailoring to a happy new customer:
We sell hygiene products to universities. One of our sales reps recently had a great conversation with a school facilities manager. She started by saying that enrollment was up 33%, which meant 600 more students – something the manager didn’t know. Next she asked how the facilities budget had changed. It hadn’t. Then she explained that prospective parents and students look for cleanliness and that lower hygiene standards can hurt a school’s popularity. This helped the manager make the case for more investment.
This new framework for addressing a problem implicitly ties back to your value proposition as a considered supplier in the eyes of the customer. A B2B sales strategy positions a solution as a natural outgrowth of the teaching and tailoring.3
Did we spark some thought for you and your team? Contact us today to learn how you can achieve your goals with a B2B content marketing strategy.
1Think With Google, "B2B's Digital Evolution"
2CEB, “Challenger Sale”
3CEB, "Getting Commercial Insight Right"
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