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Boy scratching his head, confused by what is happening

I’m Touched – Just Not Sure By What4

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

I got an interesting e-mail last week that had me laughing and puzzled at the same time. It was from someone I had spoken to a total of once a few years back, it was all business, no personal aspect at all. At the time they were building a social selling tool, and wanted me to test drive it and ultimately promote it. I declined for no other reason than lack of time.

As you would know from previous posts, I find that at a high level you can split social selling proponents into two groups. Those who see it as part of an expanding tool kit. The others, who see it as a replacement for everything that was part of the tool kit, “new good, old bad”. The social world is vast and expanding, leading to a scenario where even those who preach “quality over quantity”, (you know is not a numbers game), fall into the trap of counting connection and followers as a measure of quality (or self worth).

I fully accept that many of the people who follow me or connect with me, are more likely connecting with the elements of my content that they identify with, not specifically with Tibor Shanto. I am flattered, honoured and pleased when someone I have never met or spoken with, endorses me on LinkedIn; the pattern is clear, they read a post, something resonates, or a technique I introduced creates a breakthrough, and as tip of the hat they endorse me. I can live with the fact that 99.9% of my followers and connections could not pick me out of a line up, and I suspect the sender of the e-mail falls into that category.

So imagine my surprise when I get an e-mail with the subject line:

“You are Unique Amongst My Relationships”

Wow, Unique, pretty cool, how many times has a friend said that to you, it would be heart warming. But wait, this is not a friend saying it, according to the subject line, I am a Relationship; hey, but still Unique, not bad eh. Unfortunately, I have about as much of a Relationship with this dude as I do with the milkman, and I haven’t had a milkman since 1969 in Montreal.

I kept reading, and I did graduate to friend, he writes:

“We are friends across multiple networks including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and we’ve stayed in touch over the years. I count you as one of my closer friends and my XYZ Sales App relationship manager confirms this and more about us.”

I don’t know about you, but I think I can tell who my friends are, and why, without the aid of a CRM.  Actually picking up the phone or sending a genuine e-mail once a year, rather than once a decade would go a lot further.

I say genuine, because he went on to says:

“I sent this email using our New XYZ Sales App Group Messaging, Templates. It helps me send templated group emails using my XXX@XYZ.com email account via gmail. My group emails look and feel like one-to-one personal conversations and XYZ even gives me signals on who opens and clicks.”

Nothing says you are “Unique” more than “group emails look and feel like one-to-one personal conversations”

I am truly touched, just not sure by what.

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Cover of Beyond Sales Process book by Dave Stein and Steve Andersen

Beyond the Sales Process – Book Review0

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

When Dave Stein and Steve Andersen get together to write a book, you can bet it’s going to be something special, so when Beyond the Sales Process: 12 Proven Strategies for a Customer-Driven World was released earlier this month, I took the opportunity to get a copy and see what these two sales performance heavyweights had to say. I was delighted and gratified to discover that it was not another flash-in-the-pan methodology-of-the-moment for salespeople to learn and toss aside. In this book, Dave and Steve articulate (with confidence and conviction) an approach that is clearly grounded in their combined, extensive understanding of what B2B customers want and value, and how they buy. Even better, every strategy they define can be applied almost immediately, because they also tell you how to execute each—a component that typical sales books often lack.

Specific and Actionable

Beyond the Sales Process is engaging and purposeful, prescribing specific actions, activities, and tactics for building a high-value relationship with your customers. You’ll encounter no ambiguity, no guesswork, and no gaps or lapses, as you join the authors on a comprehensive exploration of before, during, and after the sale, with “actionable awareness” (See Strategy 5) to be gained on every page.

Beyond the Sales Process doesn’t pander, presuming you know industry-specific terms and trendy acronyms, nor does it talk down to its audience, treating every reader as a beginner. You could be an up-and-comer or a seasoned expert—you’re going to learn something valuable about how to succeed in this post-recession, buyer-driven economy. And don’t skim over the nine case studies, where global leaders from a range of industries—and their customers—describe firsthand how they implement Engage/Win/Grow strategies and co-create value together. That level of insight about how stuff really works can be hard to come by—in Beyond the Sales Process, Dave and Steve have served it up in generous portions.

Comes with success built in

Are you absorbing and putting their strategies to work? At the end of each chapter, Dave and Steve provide no-nonsense diagnostics, so you can test yourself on where you are and where you need to go. (Ignore these questions at your own peril. If you can’t answer them, you’re likely to lose your customer and the deal.)

Looking at the “sales process” from a different perspective, this book urges readers  to leverage the time when your customer isn’t actively buying anything, to build trust before there’s a sales opportunity, and to build on your past proven value after the sale closes—and it tells you how to do it. Want to be included your customer’s long term plan? Beyond the Sales Process breaks down how to get there.

If you’re looking for tips, trips, and shortcuts, there are mountains of sales books that claim to have the magic bullet.  If you want to know how to build and execute a proven plan to engage, win, and grow a long-term relationship with your customers, read Beyond the Sales Process.

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Sales Productivity is more Than Just Technology0

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

There is no shortage of productivity or enablement tools available to sales people and sales organizations. Many may be useful, fun to use, and allow sales people to do things they may not have been able to do in the past, not everyone gets the same level of productivity improvement, if any.

Let’s start by defining productivity, the simplest definition from an execution standpoint is:
The rate of output per unit of input. This leaves you three ways to think about how to gain and get ahead in productivity:

I. Increase outputs while maintaining inputs the same
II. Maintain output levels but reduce the inputs required
III. Increase outputs while reducing inputs

The latter being the holy grail, but the first two work well too. In the past sales leaders would look to add headcount and increase goals to drive more output. Over the last decade or so they have also been able to bring sales enablement tools into the mix. But productivity continues to be a tale of two cities, on the one hand there are a number of organizations doing some great things to drive measurable gains. Others struggle, advancement in technology, has not brought the expected productivity gains. When measured by average outputs per person, productivity for the period between 2000 and 2013, was only about a third of that between 1939 – 2000, 0.9% vs. 2.7%.

There are many factors that go into this, one is time. At the core, productivity tools should shift time in your favour. Time being a static input, despite all the cute phrases about time, it continues to be 60 minutes to an hour, 24 hours to the day, etc. How you spend or reinvest the recaptured time, the inputs, and create more output, will result in increased outputs. But this is not about time management, but time utilization. Organizations need to ensure that introduction of productivity tool is accompanied by a plan on redeploying the freed up time in a way that drive more results.

Sales people, like most people, when left to figure it out on their own will approach time like a gas. The same volume of gas will fill any container even when the size of the container is doubled. So when you gain time from a productivity tool, you need to ensure that activity is increased, not just spread out over time.

Success starts before the roll-out of the tool, not just planning, but benchmarking. Where are we now, where to we want to be as a result of introducing the app or tool, what are the metrics and milestones we’ll use as we move towards the stated objective. That objective needs to be specific, and more than just “we are looking to increase sales by 5%”. Since the goal is to change behaviours, the focus has to be activity, what, when, how, why and how much. It is usually best to start with the ‘why’, if sales people can understand why something is being rolled out, they are more likely to be engaged and not only use the tool, but deliver desired results. People who do start with the ‘why’ at times make the mistake of stating it from the company perspective, better to do it from the perspective of the sales person, tell them what’s in it for them. Rather than introducing a tool by saying how it will give management more visibility and the data to make decisions. Tell them how it will help them execute better, helping them get more sales and more commissions. They’ll use it, and you’ll get more visibility and data than you’ll know what to do with.

Any investment in enablement technology should include budget for training both the front-line rep and their direct managers. This means more than a two-hour webinar led by someone who sold you the tool and a Chrome extension for reinforcement. Since you are changing how they sell, you need have one of your trainers relate things to how they sell, how they execute, and how a change in one aspect of that will drive productivity across the entire sale cycle.

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Stop the domino effect concept for solution to a problem

Sales Excuse Litmus Test and Cure7

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

I had an interesting chat with a client last week. We were reviewing their progress on specific things we agreed on. She mentioned that she had not made progress on a specific task, and was honest enough to add “I am not sure if I am making excuses or if there are other real factors preventing me from getting it done.” While it may be easy to just default that they were just making excuses, that will do little to get them to change their ways. It is better to approach it in a way that leaves them open to change, and will get them to take ownership for the outcome, which will drive the activity. In this case the outcome is more sales and earnings, so let’s look at the litmus test and how will then to execution rather than excuses.

In this case the task was to prospect in sufficient amounts to ensure a given number of new opportunities per month. The method was not an issue, they can cold call, socialize, referrals, whatever, the measure was new opportunities. Since all activities take time, and time is the currency of sales, how you spend or invest it will dictate your success. Based on that I asked this rep to sit down and carve out 30 minutes each day specifically for prospecting. To be successful, I insisted that they block out the times for the following week the week before. On Thursday, block out times for next week, this way you are doing it before getting caught up in the moment, when it is easy to rationalize not doing something when something that seems bigger (at the time).

After the first week we can explore empirical evidence as to how the half hour a day impacted all other activities. Did they still get all the other “important” things done, or did their universe fall apart, and they can’t show their face at the club any more. If it was the former, then we just keep carving out incrementally more time, till we get a balance of getting all the things we need to done. This works best when you chunk time for all the important things that you need to do, and focus on just the activity you have allocated the time for.

If the result is that you are not getting all “important” things done, then we need to look at a couple of things. First, are they all “important”, or are we doing some things to be able to legitimately avoid others. One thing that takes work but delivers results is looking at your habits, auto routines, you’ll need a partner in this one as few of us are objective enough about our habits to work this alone. They say that 40% of our daily activities are habits, we do them without thinking. Some good habits like working out, others bad, like a smoke with every coffee. If you can identify, or have someone help you identify “bad sales habits”, you can then focus on changing the habit, which will change the result. If you can swap out a bad habit or two, and replace them with good habits that will get done automatically, you will change the impacts and outcomes.

Best to do this slow, and one specific habit at a time. Small victories lead to big results. Change=pain=gain, trying to change all bad habits at once, will usually lead to being crushed under the weight of the challenge, giving up, and staying the same, and clearly the same is not good in this case.

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don't do this on cold calls

3 Things To Leave Out Of Your Prospecting Call0

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

Not only do I get to listen to a lot of outbound calls, but I get a fair bit of cold calls, (I guess they did not get the memo that cold calling is dead), and there are a number of things that if people would just stop doing, they would be so much more successful. These aren’t the top ones, or worst ones, they are just the ones that irritated me most this week.

1.  Who Is In Charge Of…?

These are the people who give cold calling a bad name, lazy people who can’t be bothered to go to your web site or LinkedIn and do some basic scraping to get basic info. Even if the above were to leave you wondering, asking this question is just going to make more work, and lead to less results. The receptionist may have a different idea of who is in charge of. As far as he/she is concerned the person in charge of office supply is the person asking them if the need that supply. The person in charge of telecommunication is the one who works on their telco problems, not the one making the decision about carriers. So if you are really unable to find the right person before you pick up the phone, hard to believe these days given the resources available, just ask for a specific title. Not any harder, not much better, but if you have to, it is better to ask for the CTO, than the person in charge of telephones or IT.

2.  What you or your company does

Really no one cares, if they did, they would have phoned you, not the other way around. Beyond the name of your company, no one cares. Tell them what you have done for others with similar objectives, what the economic outcome was, and how it impacted their business. Anything other than that is saying please hang up on me, I prefer to talk about me and my company not you and your opportunities. Instead of who you are and what you do, talk about outcomes, lead with outcomes they are looking for and thinking about, it is about the end, not the means.

3 Your Title (or lot in life)

I rarely laugh at sales people when they call, I know the effort it takes, and they are doing their job, I usually listen, and if they are open, make suggestions. But one thing that always gets a belly laugh is when I hear someone include their title. “hi this Josie Broune, regional account manager for Canada”, or the voice mail version, “hi you’ve reached Mike Smith, Eastern Canada Sales Director at Another Company”.

I am sure your mother and spouse are proud of your title, and for many I am sure your title defines some aspect of your life, but for the person listening it means nothing, in fact those people who hang up on you, for them it means less than nothing.

I am not saying it is not impressive or that you should not be proud, but it adds nothing to the call, which means it needs to be eliminated. I’ve had some tell me that it communicates their capabilities and demonstrates some credibility. It doesn’t. You want to impress, and create credibility, get to what is in it for them, the business impacts you have delivered to others with similar objectives. Start and stay with that and you’ll get their attention, anything other than that, and they are just waiting for a pause where they can shut you down, and if that opening does not come in time – – click.

Don’t do it Len, leave these things out.

there are sellers and order takers which are you

Darwin Comes To Sales – Hunt or Perish2

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

While people may debate the exact quote or misquote from Darwin, the core concept stands, survival is more likely a question of a species’ ability to adapt than anything else. For the sake of this piece we’ll look at B2B sales people as a species consisting of various subspecies. Different periods, circumstances, and trends may favour one subset over the other, but time will always bring the pendulum (and prize) back to those willing to adapt by building on their experience and skills. In sales that subspecies has always been the Hunter.

Some people don’t like that phrase, let’s be clear, we are talking about hunting revenue, not clients; competing with other sellers, not against the client. I believe many feel uncomfortable with the phrase has more do with how they view their approach and roll in commerce. As many have pointed out before, if three sales people are proposing on an opportunity, one will win, the other two will have hungry babies, I love my babies, I like to feed them, I guess some don’t.

I think it also speaks to their comfort, and, if and how far they are willing to step outside that zone to grow, thrive, evolve their success and that of their clients’.
Based on a recent presentation by a principal analyst from Forrester, the B2B subspecies of sales population count is currently about 4.5 million. But the tribe is about to be culled, in a serious way, the prediction is that about a quarter of those B2B sellers will vanish over the next five years. This is primarily due to the fact that many of the efficiencies achieved in B2C, the Amazonization of buying, will be making their way to B2B. No surprise, no shock, order takers have always been part of the scene, and as machines become more efficient at not only taking orders, but increasing individual orders by leveraging the same technologies and thought processes as we now take for granted on Amazon or eBay.

Add to that technology’s role in helping attract “self declared” buyers, the need for this skill-less chore to be performed by humans will disappear, freeing up margins for other revenue and margin generating assets, specifically hunters. I recently saw an interview with an executive from a “lead gen” firm, and he described their success in “generating inbound hand raisers”. Well if they are raising their hands on their own, or in response to advertising, then capturing that demand will default to technology, not only because of the cost saving, but the consistency of performance, and efficiencies gain.

That environment favours hunters over all other type of sellers. The premium worth paying for is the ability to identify “none hand raisers”, engage them, and bring them into to the market, something which on their own they would not have done. Approaching an individual who is firmly entrenched in the Status Quo, and bringing them in to a conversation that ends in them being in a buy/sales process is the skill of the future.

This is not about social selling vs. traditional selling. This is about the ability to understand objectives business people have, engage them based on your ability to articulate how that objective can be achieved in a way the buyer had not considered; how the objective needs to be adjusted, and how your experience has helped others arrive at the desired end by different means. The premium is for expertise that exceeds and defies the buyer’s perceptions rather than playing in into them by solely fulfilling in a more economical way. If you’re not doing that you’ll soon be replaced by a scanner and an app, Darwin would be pleased.

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Not interested

They’re Not Interested – What Now?3

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

No one likes objections, the number one reason for sales people hating cold calling is the cold reality of the objections. I get it, but when you think about it there are probably five common objections you will face in telephone prospecting. About 80% of the time, 80% people we are calling will go to one of these five objections. While none are pleasant, especially when you are not ready, the most frustrating seems to be the “Not interested” objection. Seems the most sensible people lose their mind for a second.

I recently had a call from someone for a product, that based on their introduction I felt I did not need, did not want, and would not help me in any way. I told the rep: “no thanks, no interest at the moment.” Sounding somewhat irritated, he asked “why is that?”.

Me: Based on your intro, I don’t see the need, so thanks, but not interested.
Rep: I get that, but why not?

At this point, I said “Well get this” as I hit the end button.

Now he is not the worst I have had, and I figure his frustration was not with my reply but the fact that he blew it and had no clue how to handle it any other way. (He should take my program)

First mistake, he assumed that telling me about his brand, and their Unique Selling Proposition (which other than his company’s name was not unique at all), would arouse a deep and hidden need and desire. I had what he was selling, so need and want were non-factors. What he should have done is align his approach with my priorities, and how they may contribute to them.

I would argue that the main reason someone says they are not interested is that they gleaned little or no value from your intro, and what little they may have, was not enough to displace a current priority. The oldest rule “What’s in it for them”, yet most calls are about “us, and what we do, and we, we, we.” If you offered something of real interest, you would get a different response. Don’t believe me, call five people and offer them $1,000,000 and see how many “Not interested” responses you get.

I am not suggesting that you have to go to that extent, but you do need have a clear idea of how you can impact the prospects business and objectives in a very specific way. And that’s where the work comes in, speaking to those points that are on the minds and the ‘to-do’ lists of byers. Given that there are multiple buyers in each decision, apparently 5.4 buyers, it means work. Generic “we, we, we, ROI of that” no longer cuts it unless you happen across someone who has that specific need at the time you call, not likely, less than a 30% shot. But 100% of businesses and business people have objectives, that’s where the value is, that’s where their interest is.

Want to handle objections better, grab our Objection Handling Handbook now, normally $12.97,
free by clicking here.

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Achieving success with Status Quo Prospect segment

Achieving Prospecting Success by Segmentation – 32

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

Thus far in this series we have looked at two prospects segments that are popular among sellers, mostly because they are likely the easier of the three. While most sales people spend 80% of their time and effort pursuing these groups, combined they only make up at most 30% of any given market. The Actively Looking, about 10%, and the Passively Looking, another 20%. So what about the big piece of the pie?

Status Quo Segment

Well in this the last of the series, we will look at the at the largest of potential buyer segments, the Status Quo, making up some 70% of most markets, what I like to call, The Play Ground of The Rich and Famous. The reason for that is that those who thrive on prospecting this segment, not only have more fun selling, they face less competition, and as a result make more sales and commissions. Famous, because people talk about them, but fail to follow them into this lucrative segment; one can argue at times infamous because those who linger with the Passive and Active, rationalize their lack of success with the Status Quo, by painting those who do as the anomaly.

There two factors that come to play here. The people in this segment are NOT buyers, they are at best potential prospects. Whereas the other segments are buyers of varying degrees, these people are several degrees removed from the market. So before you can roll out your brochures, white papers and discounts, you need to bring them into the market. Second, most sales people have been told not to “waste time” on this segment, because they are not looking, happy with where they are, and are satisfied, and therefore will not engage with a seller till their status changes, say from satisfied, to dissatisfied. This poisonous bull shit has cost reps quotas, companies millions of dollars, and no doubt contributed to slow recovery from the last recession.

Satisfaction Poor Buying Indicator

Consider this, according to Chip Bell and John Patterson, in their book ‘Customer Loyalty Guaranteed’, present that “75% of customers who leave or switch vendors for a competitor, when asked, say they were ‘satisfied or completely satisfied’ with the vendor they left, at the time they switched.” Hmm, seems satisfaction is a poor barometer for potential. This makes it clear that if you know how to engage satisfied customers, you can indeed convert them to prospects, and buyers, but you will need to be proactive rather than waiting to be found or a random event beyond your control to do the work for you.

So what does it take to engage this segment? A complete abandoning of product (or solution), and focusing exclusively on the prospects’ objectives, and how you can help them achieve them. The reason this is hard for some (well most), is that you have to understand how you have done that for some of you current customers. A thorough and detailed review of specific elements of how you have delivered specific impacts and business outcome for clients is the start of the process. Our clients take advantage of our 360 Degree Deal Review.

Understanding where the prospect is looking to be moving forward, not current pain or distractions. If you call these prospects and yatter on about what they need and why you’re the best, you are asking for a click. On the other hand, if you call and speak to specific objectives you have been able to help other achieve, they may engage. This takes work, because you will have to develop different talk tracks based on role, verticals, and other factors. But at the same time, it is not like you are looking at hundreds, but a firm dozen or so that will help you reach out to specific prospects and engage them on their terms not yours.

Objectives over Pain or Need

Simply stated these people are not looking, you need, product, solution and pain, do not resonate. Call and speak to them about a future state they have in mind, with a means of getting there, well you have a conversation, and that’s where it all starts.

Achieving success with the Passively Looking segment of B2B prospects

Achieving Prospecting Success by Segmentation – 20

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

This past Monday we looked at how to tailor your approach to engaging with different segments in your potential buyer pool.  Monday we looked at the readiest segment of three groups you are likely to encounter in the course of prospecting, those who are Actively Looking. The next segment is slightly larger, but brings a different set of challenges, this group is the Passively Looking segment. This group is aware that they will need to engage, to make a purchase decision, but do not have the same sense of urgency as the Actively Looking segment.

Those in this group may be planning an expansion or a new facility to open in 24 months, and what you sell is relegated to be purchased six months before opening; or they have a piece of equipment that will need to be replaced in say 18 months; or any scenario where the potential prospect believes they have the luxury of time. Last time it took them six to nine months to select and buy, as a result their mind set is they have nine months before they need to fully engage. This group may be 20% or more of any given segment.

I find many sellers fall into one of two groups. The first are those who when they hear 18 months, think their “sales cycle” is usually three to six months, so they abandon the opportunity to look for Actively Looking prospects. The second, believe that their “solution” is “so right”, that they spend their time trying to convince the buyer that they should make their purchase now. Ignoring the buyer and their organizations objectives, timing, budgeting and more. They figure if they can create “urgency”, everything will fall into place, after all, that’s what their brochure says.

The reality is that the Passively Looking buyer segment is full of potential as long as you understand what you are dealing with and adjust for it.

The first thing to take into account is that while at ties you can shorten the buyer’s timelines; it is the anomaly rather than the rule. This does not mean the first group has it right, you should not walk away or park the opportunity for later. But you have to be real and understand that most likely the deal will come in later, usually next year’s quota, not this year. But that’s not a bad thing, having a number of good and real opportunities lined up for next year will pay dividends. Even better, you have a real long runway to work with the prospect, educating, becoming a great resource in process of becoming their emotional favourite. You have the opportunity to prove your worth long before they a) have to pay for it; b) before the crowd shows up and starts pitching price. This is why the first group tends to lose, by the time they come back, when they estimated the buyer will be actively looking, you have built your credibility and dependence.

The other distraction for many is the “all or none” approach. They are so fixated on the “big prize”, that they miss opportunities to build a commercial relationship on small pieces at a time. Sure we all want to share the big solution, but the buyer has made it clear that is not going to happen for a time. But the more you understand their objectives, and how they plan to achieve them, the more you can introduce other ideas, things they have yet to consider, again challenging the premise, not the individual. In the process you can get them to consider things they can use now in their current setting, these can be small add-ons, software that enhances their current solution, ways of testing alternatives, and more. The result of this may not be big revenue, but it makes you a vendor, and incumbent, someone that will very much be included in the big discussion when it comes. And if the current incumbent waits, you could also be the one that sets the agenda for the big buy. A bit of revenue now, the set up for the ultimate decision. If you can make quota from others, ready to act now, position yourself as the emotional favourite with the Passively looking buyers, you will succeed now, and moving forward; everyone wants a blended pipeline, don’t they.

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Pie chart representing market segments for prospecting

Achieving Prospecting Success by Segmentation – 12

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

As we start a new quarter, it makes sense to step back a second and think about how you are prospecting f. Few aspects of sales are one size fits all, which makes it a challenge for those who are looking for that one secret to success in sales. Buyers fall into different groups, and how you sell to each needs to reflect that, this does not mean you have to reinvent your sale for each buyer, groups or segments based on their attributes. Falling to align the effort and approach to each segment can lose you sales, or almost worse, have you spend more time and energy closing sales with a longer sales cycle than necessary.

Broadly speaking there are three segments for B2B sellers, and most sales people are adept at selling to two of these groups, unfortunately not only are these group small, they have other undesirable features.

Prospect Segment One:

The first group, anywhere from 3% – 12% of a given market, let’s round off to 10%, are Actively looking. These are the buyers you read about, having completed 57% of their journey. In essence they are coming to you, informed and ready, not just ready to buy, but ready to play you off competitors, ready for buying on price. As a result, when prospecting here is more about countering preconceptions than bringing them to the market, they are already engaged in a journey, you need to engage them and getting to consider you and your market view. This is where the Challenger Sale concepts will help you, anything short of that you are destine to be an order taker, with the terms being dictated by the buyer. Your goal is to disrupt their current path, and put them on a better path to their objectives, one they were not aware of or considered.

What You Need To Know

This is less about product, as the value comes from you being a true subject matter expert. The research you need to be just about the company and the individuals involved, but more about how others have fared trying to achieve the same objectives. What are the common misconceptions leading companies and byers to pursue the wrong solution. At the same time what have you and your company been able to specifically do for other clients. To challenge is not to wag your fingers telling them they are making mistake going with a competitor, especially since the product is likely the same. It comes down to showing them why and how you have helped others achieve their end through different means, how you have accelerated their success, especially pursuing a path either not obvious to many.

Research you have to do here is in your wins, losses and deals that petered out before completion. As a subject matter expert you are not only a conduit to best practices, adding a value dimension. It is not about having a shot at the beauty contest, it is about changing their view about which contest they want to be in. If you do not change the path they are on, you are locked into the path they put you one, taking orders and cutting prices to make you quarter. Then start it all again.

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