118 Proving Your Solution

Proving Your Solution


“Prove to me that your solution will work for my organization”


Customers will say this in most cases… and your sales team will need to perform some type of proof to validate that your solution will work and deliver value to your customer. The depth of the proof depends on the complexity of your solution and the culture that drives your customer’s business. 


Your customer will generally fall into three categories that will define the approach you take to advance your sales cycle: 


First Category: The Innovators

These are visionaries who strive to stay ahead of their competition. They are willing to take risks to become the first movers in an industry segment. 


A winning approach here is to demonstrate your industry-leading capabilities and articulate your unique functionality. 


Second Category: Value Seekers

These customers must be shown how a solution will generate a return on their investment before moving forward. Projects are authorized based on their ranking by net return to their business. 


A winning approach here: is to apply value-based selling methods to connect customer requirements to your unique value proposition. 


Third Category: Risk Avoiders

These customers tend to shy away from projects or initiatives that have even a remote level of risk. They may be “burn victims”—in other words, they may have been burned before from bad experiences with other salespeople or failed projects. 


A winning approach here is to focus on related customer success stories, the substantial business value they will achieve, and a demonstration of your solution in action. 


A customer could have multiple sets of buying categories within their organization. For example, the marketing department could be innovators, the finance department could be value seekers, and the operations department could be risk avoiders. Identifying these categories and aligning your approach appropriately will help you establish your best pursuit strategy so you can position your solution for success.


I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on what it takes to become an Elite Seller, visit my website at thetechseller.com 


117 Trends in Sales Productivity 2

Trends in Sales Productivity 2


In the prior briefing, we revealed the disappointing stats on sales productivity… Now we’ll discuss why sales productivity is declining and what to do about it. 


1) New sales vice-presidents have little time to get established. They need to hire better sales talent, swiftly adjust sales processes, engage with customers, and identify the customers who have the greatest revenue-generating potential. If they can’t generate improved results rapidly, they often pursue other opportunities rather than stay around long enough to get fired. 


2) Sales reps who leave their jobs may do so because they don’t like their job or their management, aren’t making enough money… Or they are high performers who leave for better and greener career opportunities. 


3) The company culture might not acknowledge the contribution of salespeople, and this could create a revolving-door effect. 


4) Dissatisfied sales reps might have checked out and are not focused on their current job as they search for another one. The sales rep takes up a spot but doesn’t generate revenue. 


5) Hiring new sales reps and getting them up to speed is dead time. This produces a large revenue gap with no wins, no new opportunities, and no advancement of existing sales cycles. 


What you can do to increase your own sales productivity:


First, study the trends described in these briefings and evaluate how they will impact your current sales role. How secure will your role be in the next year or two? Understand where you need to take action to enhance your abilities or pursue a different role. 


Second, commit to improve your selling skills. Your ability to communicate effectively with customers will be even more important and will differentiate what you do from technology-based automation. 


Third, learn about the coming technology advances and determine how you can use these technologies to advance your sales career.


I’m DJ Sebastian, for more info on what it takes to become an Elite Seller, visit my website at thetechseller.com 


116 Trends in Sales Productivity 1

Trends in Sales Productivity 1


A company’s sales force is usually its lifeline, generating much of its sales revenue. However, company executives often view salespeople as a necessary evil. Sales organizations routinely suffer from low productivity and high turnover. Some companies frequently operate with an extremely short-term mindset with a primary theme of “deliver quickly or hit the road.” 


Sales reps are encouraged to build lasting relationships with customers, yet they are measured on the amount of revenue they generate in a relatively short period of time. Technology and automation have contributed significantly to the time pressures salespeople grapple with today.


It’s difficult to create a great culture and foster loyalty this way. 


Here are statistics that paint a worrisome picture for the contribution of the sales force to a company’s results. 

  • The average turnover (that is, churn) for salespeople is nearly 35% per year in the U.S. 
  • The average tenure of a salesperson at a company is only one and a half years. 
  • The average cost to replace a salesperson can be up to double their total annual compensation. 
  • The percentage of sales reps achieving quota is just 54%
  • The average tenure for a vice-president of sales at a company is just nineteen months.


I’m DJ Sebastian. These stats are staggering… In the next briefing, we’ll continue discussing why sales productivity is declining and what to do about it. 


115 Trends - Salesperson Avoidance

Trends – Salesperson Avoidance 


Many people who venture out to car dealerships shopping for cars do so then the dealership is closed. This allows would-be buyers to freely browse the parking lots, check on pricing and available inventory without being “bothered” by a pesky salesperson. 


The car lot isn’t the only place customers try to avoid salespeople. Since the days of door-to-door selling, people have been evading anyone they presume to be a “pesky” peddler. 


Today, that salesperson is more likely to call on the phone or send an email, and that “knock”—that unwelcome interruption—can just as likely be avoided by the prospective customer. 


According to Forrester Research, more than 90% of B2B buyers prefer to make purchases online rather than interact with an actual salesperson, even though key purchases often require involvement from sellers. 


Customers are now far more selective about engaging with salespeople. They may quickly close the door on a salesperson who appears only to be sniffing around for a deal. It takes a sales professional with the ability to engage in a mutually beneficial business relationship to secure a solid win in today’s technology-driven world. In order to ensure a winning outcome, skilled professionals today must do the following: 


  1. Understand the customer’s business and business challenges. 
  2. Serve as a catalyst that introduces innovative ideas for consideration.
  3. Articulate their solution’s unique business value and why the customer should listen.
  4. Show the way to success and lead customers down that path.
  5. Demonstrate how entering into a business relationship with them will lead customers to greater success. 


To remain relevant in the future, sales professionals must reinvent themselves to do much more than just transactional sales tasks; they need to transform their roles into those of a valued consultant


I’m DJ Sebastian. We’ll continue to discuss the changing trends in how customers buy and how you can transform your approach so you can prosper. 


114 Trends in Social Communication

Trends in Social Communication


So much communication in our personal and business world is now electronic as we text, email, and chat online. It seems that nobody wants to talk face-to-face with anyone anymore! 


Conversations that once required a personal meeting or a phone call can often be handled through email and text messaging. 


All this technology can make the nature of a sales professional’s relationship with a customer very impersonal and, of course, less effective, especially for customers who want to avoid salespeople. 


Here’s an example.


Ginni is a sales professional who depended heavily on electronic social communications. She sent a proposal via email to a customer then followed up via text message asking the customer to confirm receipt and inquire about next steps. Later that day, Ginni received a text message response from the customer that contained no words—just a custom graphic of an animated person staring at a smartphone with a puzzled look. 


Ginni was puzzled too and was unable to decipher the meaning of the cryptic message. What does this mean? Did the customer hate the proposal? Did he understand the content? Is he shocked by the price? She spent way too much time stressing over the cryptic response, and after several hours of anguish, she finally picked up the phone to gauge the customer’s impression, walk through the elements of the proposal, and ensure a proper understanding of the situation. 


Sometimes sales professionals get too comfortable using non-vocal forms of communication. This often slows down the process as a heavy dependence on electronic communications can limit the effectiveness the salesperson has in building a relationship. It also reduces the back-and-forth nature of voice-to-voice conversations. Salespeople depend on these to ask open-ended questions and engage in a deeper dialogue. 


I’m DJ Sebastian. We’ll continue discussing the changing trends in how customers buy and how you can transform your approach so you can prosper.