Last week I left you dangling on the conundrum that many Oz B2B sales organisations perceive they face nowadays… to question and decrease the investment in and size of the sales team as one mechanism to protect the bottom line as they fight the horrible competitive race to the bottom in their market. Many of these organisations simply do not have the capability to overhaul or upgrade their product or service to move beyond customer perceived commoditisation. This specific point seems to be the missing piece in what CEB taught us via The Challenger Sale. So how do these countless organisations take up the cudgel to survive and then thrive, via their sales system?
Instead of looking to cut the sales team size, cost and impact, they should consider the sales team as their weapon for differentiation and competitive price maintenance (commanding premium may be stretching credibility just a tad!). The sales team can fill the missing piece, apparently missed by CEB. Go back to the future. Go back to 2000 and pick up David Maister’s seminal book, “The trusted advisor”. It was written to inspire and guide consultants of that time. It is highly relevant today if read and applied to the Sales Execs from these types of companies. These organisation need to convert the sales team, including the members, their skills and competencies to be the trusted advisors/partners of the customer. Accept that the product or solution on sale is largely a commodity, as viewed by the customer. Design the activities that the Sales exec will undertake from now on to differentiate the Sales Exec from competitor Sales execs. Design these things into your sales system in such a way as to…
- Entangle that Sales Exec with the customer, and make it hard for competitor company Sales Execs to copy cat better (accept that you can be copied, but by being first , you will win if all the other guy can do is copy)
- Ensure that the execution of these activities requires the Sales Exec to visit the customer at the frequency that is going to give exposure advantage over competitor Sales Execs
How does the B2B sales organisation do this and what are these activities? Come back next week and find out. But before I let you go this week, a little clue. Imagine that you are sending your Sales Execs in to see the same customers they have already been visiting… but now they have no product or service from you, the employing company, to offer the client. Mind bending?
Want to learn more? check out: The Challenger Sale = Brilliant for your sales systems… BUT… there is a missing piece
Next week: The Challenger Sale = Brilliant for your sales systems… BUT… there is a missing piece (part 3)