If you sell value-add or business critical solutions or services B2B, these top sales strategy tips could be the catalyst to help improve sales performance. Find out how a coach that constructively challenges your strategy and approach could be a key factor for success.
Sales Coach Tip #1
Eliminate Comfort Zone Selling to Improve Sales Performance
Many salespeople and often the companies they work for are slaves of comfort zone selling. They go through the same old “hit and hope” sales routine, hoping for the best but winning too little profitable business. This is the best place to start looking when considering ways to improve sales performance.
A prospective customer requests a presentation, proposal, demonstration or trial and most salespeople are keen to oblige. That’s a lot of commitment from a supplier. Effective salespeople qualify well and work to ensure they gain enough commitment in return, before they agree to dedicate time and effort.
Few companies stop to calculate the cost of each failed sales attempt, whether a formal tender or a less formal proposal. Consider the total hours lost in meetings and response preparation for a bid that fails. A skilled sales coach will ensure valuable time is spent wisely and only on winnable opportunities.
Sales Coach Tip #2
Profit is Sanity So Keep the Focus on a Margin Rich Sales Strategy
Now think how many of the bids you win are “margin compromised” as opposed to margin rich? Being the price leader in an attempt to improve sales performance may work for the budget shop, but it’s a very poor sales strategy if you sell value-add or critical solutions or services business to business.
Business critical purchases tend to be far less price sensitive than prospective customers would ever like to admit. The risk of a poor buying decision is too high for false economies. Yet supplier nerves often trigger unnecessary discount just to get the deal done and thus the margin is often compromised.
Before you weigh up the merits of using an external coach, think just how much you might be losing by pandering to false price pressures. A good sales coach is a catalyst for the behaviour changes needed to improve margin rich sales performance and any investment here should produce healthy returns.
Sales Coach Tip #3
Why Let Purchasing Departments Determine Your Sales Strategy?
The market too often expects suppliers to jump at any opportunity to bid. Many suppliers conform without really considering how well positioned they are to win or the business viability if they did. Suppliers that professionally hold their ground can gain significant credibility with prospective customers.
Too many salespeople just look for a solution match. Ticking the boxes against a specification, RFP or ITT is only one aspect to consider. Any good sales coach will ensure that the primary focus is on access to the key influencers and decision makers – the people who can make things happen.
Assuming the project is real and they will actually spend money with someone soon, there is always a danger you may only be making up the numbers. A smarter B2B sales strategy helps you weed out the false opportunities from the real ones to avoid situations where the odds are stacked against you.
Left to their own devices, most salespeople can become habitual and even if they work hard, they may not work smart. A skilled external sales coach will help them identify and avoid the false opportunities they might otherwise chase, whilst honing their ability to qualify, develop and win the true ones.
Sales Coach Tip #4
Serious Buying Decisions Demand Deep Consideration
Imagine your career relied on selecting the right supplier of a business critical service. How much would you be influenced by a likable salesperson and how much by their ability to correctly set and meet your expectations? Suppliers failing to grasp this will find it hard to improve sales performance.
We often hear that “people buy from people they like.” This is just too simplistic when it comes to value-add or business critical solutions or services. In such situations people will buy from people they hold credible to deliver to expectations. Anything else would put their careers seriously at risk.
And if people make serious buying decisions based on how confident they feel in a company’s ability to meet expectations, then why do so many suppliers waste time pitching their solutions instead of asking constructive questions and listening well in order to build strong relationships with the key players?
If you lack confidence it’s often tempting to slip into pitching mode rather than really engage your prospective customer. You may feel on safe ground talking about the features and benefits of a solution you know like the back of your hand. Your prospective customer may well be more bored than engaged.
If you can convince a genuine prospect they are in safe hands with your company, that you clearly understand their requirements and will deliver to the expectations that you set, then why would they not select you? Ironically, many salespeople only scrape the surface of sales opportunities and thus fail.
Sales Coach Tip #5
Specialist Niche Player Supplier or Large Generalist Supplier?
Small companies often have an inferiority complex, however with the right B2B sales strategy, a specialist niche player can often beat larger well known bidders. The key is to determine early on whether a prospect is prepared to break from the herd to go with a lesser known company with a better offering.
Prospective customers may operate within their own comfort zones and some will turn away from the better solution in order to ensure the safety of their own derriere. A good sales coach will help you separate prospects that will only ever play safe from those that are prepared to back the best solution.
And Finally, Back to Sales Coach Tip #1
When you think about it, comfort zone selling is in many ways at the root of all of the above issues. It is habitual, even self-satisfying in the short-term to be working so hard on so many opportunities. However it is far less rewarding in the medium to long-term when too little of any real value comes to fruit.
To eradicate comfort zone selling means raising the bar across the board. A business to business sales strategy evolution is more viable than a potentially disruptive revolution. It can be a mistake to try to change too much too soon. An experienced sales coach can help you move towards your goal step by step.