This year's, top sales performance problems that sales leaders are investing in solving are - ability to show benefit/value, closely followed by differentiation from competitors.
Last week CSO Insights released their 2011 Sales Management Optimization Report. CSO Insights is a valuable source of benchmarking data for sales leaders through surveys of thousands of chief sales officers each year to build the most comprehensive database of sales effectiveness metrics and trends. You can download the free sampler report here.
2011 Hi-Tech Top 5 Sales Performance Initiatives
This year's CSO Insights Sales Management survey examines responses from 850 firms addressing issues of Sales Management development, sourcing and assessment. The chart below is an excerpt from the complete study for the hi-tech market-place, where you will note that issues in ranked importance are
1. Ability to show benefit/value,
2. Optimizing the sales process,
3. Reaching people with power,
4. Increasing customer loyalty,
5. Differentiation from competition.
Sales reps have long struggled to show benefit/value and it was the #1 issue in last year's CSO survey as well. In my experience it has been an issue since I started selling and it's a subject worthy of attention.
Showing Benefit/Value starts with the Buyer, not the Product.
The journey to showing benefit/value starts perhaps counterintuitively with the buyer, not with the product.
- A product has no intrinsic value unless the person who could potentially use it has the problem it is designed to solve.
- In B2B selling, the odds of engaging a buyer in a meaningful conversation will be much higher if we first examine the role of the buyer in the organization and understand their issues in achieving their business goals within that role.
- Additionally, top sales professionals will seek to understand the industry and competitive issues the buyer is facing and the buyer ecosystem of partners, customers.
- Typically creation of a role-based buyer persona is a first step in a sales and marketing alignment process, which starts in a brainstorming process, with input from field sales execs and product management.
After we have examined the role, likely business goals, conflicting issues and environment in which the buyer operates, we will be in a much stronger position to engage buyers in conversation around their needs and this is the first step in creating value and benefit for the buyer. Next week we'll examine how to develop sure-fire conversations to get buyer buy-in from the opening call.
1. No-one cares about your products or services except you.
2. Buyers care about achieving their business goals and having their needs met.
3. The place to begin in showing value/benefit is to understand buyer needs.