A common worry salespeople face on a day to day basis is that deep down we know sales is not rocket science. When understood properly and with the right sales process in place let’s be honest it’s pretty simple. But as is frequently reiterated by Messer’s Durham and Lane, ‘often the best things are’.
Perhaps surprisingly, customers have an issue with too much information. With every complex B2B sales process there are now numerous suppliers to pick from, several stakeholders to consider and which issues should be prioritised. This can leave customers overwhelmed when considering the purchasing process. This means sales cycles are becoming increasingly long, complex and ultimately frustrating for the buyer. So how can a salesperson help? Keep it simple.
Salespeople have a tendency to overcomplicate the buying process by looking to understand every single infinitesimal detail of a project and assuming that flexibility to the client’s requirements is vital to success. In this case the salesperson will lay out all the different options a customer can choose from, so that- in the mind of the seller- they will be able to pick the best one with no issues.
This is not the case. Research from CEB has shown that a ‘prescriptive’ and proactive approach substantially increases purchasing ease. It is the role of the seller to be able to present complex solutions clearly. Clarity will ultimately win out.
The idea that salespeople must satisfy every single requirement a client throws at them to be able to consider all options is going to leave the client satisfied is wrong. Once a client is bogged down with too much information and too many choices it simply slows everything down. If a salesperson can instead totally understand the customers purchase journey – and identify the most significant customer challenge and show clearly how to overcome this at each stage in the sales cycle they will speed the buying process up and garner more success.
Salespeople must work hard to understand the struggles a potential client may have with have a supplier. If you can angle simple solutions around the biggest issues they have in their purchasing journey and then walk them through the process step by step you will make their lives much easier and more receptive to purchasing.
It is important then to consider where the struggles will come. As such by means of current customers a supplier should seek to understand questions like ‘what information was considered both important and useful presale’ and ‘who was involved in the decision-making process and at what time did they get involved’. Once you can clearly identify the main complications to buying then you can develop an effective ‘prescription’.
People like to buy things but they don’t want to be sold things. If salespeople can understand better how customers make purchasing decisions and help them through the process this will make a significant difference to sales won. Finally, it is important to create close relationships between sales and marketing divisions in order to create consistent messaging, further simplify the buying journey.
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