In today’s world of B2B selling, success no longer relies on the ability of sales professionals to communicate the value of their products and services to their clients. What has become more crucial is their ability to create unique value for customers that goes beyond the features, advantages and benefits of the product or solution that your organisation has to offer.
This means that, as a sales leader, the sales process should be geared towards creating unique value for the customer. However, this is where the sales processes of most B2B sales teams falls short.
Most sales teams follow a conventional sales process which typically starts off with limited prospecting and cold calling. However, typical objectives for prospecting and cold calling, such as “generate X leads per week” or “make Y cold calls each day”, fail to create customer value. This is because everything in the pipeline is geared towards the interests of the selling organisation, rather than those of the buying organisation.
Increasingly, buying organisations are now looking for sales professionals to adopt a consultative approach to selling and a sales process which is designed to allow the sales person to create unique customer value. We call this Selling from the Left®.
To modernise your sales process and create unique value for your customers, you should put processes and systems in place which enable and encourage your people to Sell from the Left® with a consulative selling approach. This means that you need to get your people to open discussions with prospects around the buyer’s world to gain a real understanding of:
- The customer’s drivers for change.
- The implications and cost of failure to respond to those drivers.
- The customer’s strategic desires and needs for improvement.
By opening conversations around the customer’s world, your people should gain a much deeper understanding of the prospect’s needs before they even propose a solution. This will put them in a great position to align the prospect’s specific needs to solutions which can be tailoreed to those needs to create unique value.
This approach, shown in the diagram below, is in direct contrast to more traditional sales processes which encourage sales professionals to open discussions around the features, advantages and benefits of their products without probing the customer’s world.
To further ensure that your sales process is geared towards creating unique value for your customers, it should start off by identifying where the greatest potential for value creation lies. Rather than basic prospecting and cold calling, the initial stages of the sales process should focus on segmentation, targeting and value creation.
Segmentation – To identify where the greatest potential lies for creating unique value, your sales teams should target specific markets and industries where it is believed that the sales organisation’s products and services will add the most value. They should then produce clear value propositions which outline how the sales organisation will create unique value for each targeted segment in relation to the external pressures, trends and events which affect the performance of buying organisations within the target segment. Your people should also take note of the needs and desires which arise from these external drivers of change to formulate ways in which your organisation can create vaue for potential customers in each target segment.
Targeting – The next stage involves selecting potential and existing customers within each targeted segment who are most likely to benefit from the value proposition produced in the segmentation stage. To target the right customers, your teams should research potential and existing customers in detail (including their key performance indicators and specific pressures, trends and events which affect the buying organisation). This will enable them to estimate the value which can be created and captured for each potential and existing customer, making it easier to prioritise in terms of where the greatest potential for value creation lies.
Value Creation – Finally, your sales teams should transform the original value proposition into a unique value proposition which is specifically tailored to each target customer. Your people should also identify the key decision makers within each target buying organisation. They should then strive to meet with or call these key decision makers to ensure that value can be created while gaining a measure of exactly how much value can be created for each customer.
By reshaping the conventional sales process to a sales process that is more focused on value creation for the client, your organisation will be able to engineer a sales process which is far more efficient and effective. At Sterling Chase we work with companies of all sizes around the world to develop and embed effective sales processes, systems and techniques to enable them to create unique value propositions for their client base. For more information on how Sterling Chase can help your organisation to achieve this, give us a call on 0845 371 3099 or email us at [email protected].
Written by: Steve Eungblut, Managing Director of Sterling Chase