Hyper-educated buyers are completing up to 60% of the buying process before making contact with salespeople (Corporate Executive Board, 2014). At such a late stage in the buying process buyers expect to quickly engage with salespeople who have an in-depth product and industry understanding. Thus sales methodology used out in the field has been forced to adapt, in order to accelerate sales and meet the needs of today’s hyper-educated buyers.
Although engagement with buyers is occurring at such a late stage, today’s most talented salespeople can take buyers back to an earlier stage in the process. How? The top salespeople ask buyers the tough questions. But the key is to know which type of question to ask (Harvard Business Review, 2015).
- Clarifying - Do you want to confirm what you already know?
- Adjoining - Do you want to explore the bigger picture?
- Funnelling - Do you want to determine the root cause of a problem?
When it comes to accelerating sales, funnelling questions are key. Salespeople need to determine the root cause of a buyer’s problem in order to offer a valuable solution. Funnelling questions enable salespeople to detect any unrecognised needs in a buyer's organisation, thus a buyer’s beliefs can be challenged.
CHALLENGING A BUYER’S BELIEFS
Salespeople who ask the tough questions that challenge a buyer’s beliefs of their current business models and practices, enables buyers to be educated with powerful insights in a way they have not seen before. Bruce Rasmussen of Carpe Diem talks about how a salesperson can disrupt a buyer’s status quo. As a result buyers are now in a state of flux, starting to question their entire research phase, unsure of a solution to meet their needs.
Pursuing buyers already in a state of flux, or challenging a buyer so they transition to a state of flux enables salespeople to facilitate a discovery process. Buyers soon start to realize the true extent of the impacts their current business model and practices will have on their organization’s operations. Thus salespeople can start to accelerate the sales process with contextual insights and value propositions.
CONTEXTUAL INSIGHTS & VALUE PROPOSITIONS
Injecting customer-centric insights into proposition information arms salespeople with high value sales collateral. Matched to the stages in the buying process in which it is most relevant, salespeople can now tailor sales conversations to each buyer. Thus each buyer is delivered a value proposition that provides benefits specifically relevant to their organization’s needs. As a result the sales process is accelerated as buyers feel valued. Buyers know that a salesperson has tailored each engagement and are not just being given a ‘one size fits all’ solution.
Reframing a buyer’s beliefs and accelerating sales with contextual insights efficiently and effectively is no easy task. Salespeople need to influence buyers in a very specific way. Intensive sales training and coaching is required, and sales teams need to be armed with the best insight based sales technology.
ONGOING SALES TRAINING & COACHING
New data, analytics and insights continuously come to light. In order to ensure sales teams across the entire sales force are on the same page sales training and coaching on a regular basis is of the utmost importance. Sales training and coaching may seem like a tedious task where you have to block out an entire day of your sales teams diary, but it doesn’t have to be. According to Gothelf (2016), spending as little as 5% of your time each week developing your salespeople makes the world of difference.
But sales training and coaching should not just be at team level, training at an individual level is just as important. Individual level sales training and coaching enables salespeople to develop specific skills where they may personally be lagging in a one on one situation. With insight based sales technology specific areas for improvement can be pinpointed in real-time, thus sales training and coaching sessions can be tailored to right focus areas. This ultimately results in increased sales team effectiveness and performance, due to a salesperson’s ability to effectively accelerate sales and close more business.
INSIGHT BASED SALES TECHNOLOGY
Salespeople can really only accelerate sales effectively when they are armed with the best insight based sales technology. With the ability to access insights via a digital device business can be conducted on the go. Salespeople will never be left unprepared or without relevant insights and sales collateral, engaging buyers and delivering personalized value propositions can be done with ease. Ultimately insight based sales technology enables salespeople to meet the needs of today’s hyper-educated buyers, by delivering fast, effective solutions which shape a buyer’s “vision of a more productive future” (Accent, n.d.)
Armed with insight based sales technology salespeople can ask the tough questions to uncover any unrecognised needs, challenge a buyer’s beliefs and disrupt their status quo. Thus salespeople can reframe a buyer’s ideas on their current business practices and influence their buying journey. Ultimately salespeople who can ask the tough questions and present powerful insights will accelerate sales, close more business and drive sales revenue forward.
Accent. (n.d.). Solution Selling Does’t Work, But There’s a Better Way. Retrieved from https://accent-technologies.com/blog/2013/09/05/traditional-solution-selling-is-no-longer-the-solution-that-sells/
Buyer Journey stages and concept Copyright © 2016 Bruce Ian Rasmussen, www.carpe-diem.com.au
Corporate Executive Board. (2014). The Two Qualities Your Content Marketing Needs. Retrieved from https://www.cebglobal.com/blogs/the-two-qualities-your-content-marketing-needs/?business_line=marketing-communications
Gothelf, A. (2016). A Sales Leader Explains Why We Must Spend More Time Developing Reps. Retrieved from https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2016/02/sales-leader-developing-reps.html
Harvard Business Review. (2015). The Art of Asking Questions. [Video] Retrieved from https://hbr.org/video/4457382113001/the-art-of-asking-questions