Sales and Marketing Performance Blog

Restoring Balance in the Buyer-Seller Relationship

Posted by Mark Gibson on Wed, Mar 05, 2008

Those of us selling in the internet age, will know that the behaviour of buyers has radically changed over the past 5 years, unfortunately marketing programs and selling behaviour have been slow to adapt and buyers have the upper-hand. This imbalance produces consequences. A recent CSO Insights survey* found that sales quota Restoring sales balanceperformance worldwide is 50% and declining...WHY?

Declining quota performance is treated as a sales problem, but both marketing and sales share this burden of failure.

The problem can be summarized as follows;

  • Buyers will have identified a problem or need and visited vendor, industry-analyst Web-sites and Blogs via Google gathering information months before a sales executive is contacted...this is the start of the sales cycle. (Would they find you on the first two pages of Google today?)
  • Most corporate marketing is poor at creating awareness in early stages of the selling cycle.
  • Marketing's role is to reach buyers looking for information on how your product or service could be used to solve a problem or satisfy a need, prior to them initiating a sales cycle, not wasting time and money promoting features and benefits.
  • When a buyer does make contact with a seller, the chances are the buyer already knows what they want and the price they want to pay.
  • The sales rep arrives for a first meeting armed with a PowerPoint and LCD projector loaded with features and benefits and plays 20 questions.

What can sellers do to restore the balance?

  1. Enagage a sales and marketing consultant to assist you in a sales and marketing messaging alignment process to improve marketing performance through driving inbound marketing activities which generate leads and create mind-share.
  2. Create best-practices conversation templates for the sales team around how targeted-buyers can use your products and services to solve problems and satisfy needs.
  3. Train your sales team in consultative selling techniques and advanced communication and language skills and role-play using the templates to build confidence in calling on executive buyers.
  4. Have your sales team bring the gift of knowledge in the form of stories which integrate insight on industry issues with relevant proof points to every sales call.
  5. Clone best-practices diagnostic questions from your top performers to drive conversations around helping buyers achieve business goals using your products or services to improve sales performance across the whole team.

Focus on effective diagnosis and qualification...poor diagnosis and qualification is the root of most sales problems.

* Sales-Performance-Optimization

Topics: consultative selling, CSO Insights

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