“Some of my best customers don’t need to see me that often”

With all that we, in the mature market B2B sales organisation world, have suffered since the GFC…and therefore should have learned  over the 8 year period, in terms of the perceived commoditisation of many products and services markets, and the related decline of perceived value of the supplier sales exec from the customer perspective…I am flabbergasted to still hear these words when I go route riding with such a sales exec.

This sort of talk characterises the mindset that reinforces to the customer that their perceptions are well founded.  A self fulfilling prophecy towards doom and gloom for the sales organisation where this mindset is widespread enough.  The alternative mindset needs to…

  • Start with the notion that the sales organisation decides the frequency of visitation to the customer, based on that customer’s current and potential value to the supplier organisation
    • For tier 1 customers, the decided visit frequency should be high enough to gain the competitive advantage over competing supplier sales professional visitation frequency
  • Build the value adding set of activities to “fill” the visit frequency and duration program, in such a way as the customer not only agrees that their commitment to this amount of time is valuable, but in fact they become dependent due to the significance of value added

How do we build such visit programs into our sales system?  Firstly, reading “The Challenger Sale” is a good start.  In the interim, and to round out your read of this post, play this “game” with all relevant players in your sales organisation…

  • Imagine you were to continue to make your regular visits on your customers as specified by your sales system, BUT, pretend that you have no products or services to sell.  NONE whatsoever.   How would you add value?  I mentioned The Challenger Sale.  Go back to another old classic…The Trusted Advisor.

If you abrogate your visit frequency to Tier 1 customers to these customers, you make yourself like a dingy on the ocean without and anchor.