How many of us are having our products and solutions commoditized by prospects and customers?
In IMPAX's recent study "The State of B2B Sales" the most pressing challenges facing sales professionals today are:
- Selling value in a price focused market
- Accessing decision makers
- The rise of procurement and vendor management
Procurement and the Request for Proposal (RFP) process inhibits our ability to sell value. Many of us have been asked to fill in the spreadsheet so that our response can be compared to others. It's called "leveling the playing field". The problem is that "leveling the playing field" brings value leaders down, not the other way around.
I think a great quote from one of our clients is,
"You can't sell value on a spreadsheet."
The sales study also found that when sales professionals worked to control the sales process, developed a coach or advocate, and gained access to decision makers, they can achieve 73% to 74% close rates.
If we are to address these challenges and sell value, we need to adopt a more strategic selling approach. This means doing things like:
- Doing our research not just on the customer's needs and requirements, but on their business
- Understanding our customer's key measurements of success
- Developing strategic relationships and understanding what is important to the key stakeholders
- Getting access to the people who buy our value
- Presenting a compelling message that goes beyond product features to one that highlights the business fit between our two companies.
Business fit is key. It's about two companies, working together to help the customer drive critical business outcomes. In order to develop a strong business fit, we first need to understand your customer's objectives, strategies and challenges, consider the ones we would be able to help with, and then, conduct additional research to understand the financial implications. Once quantified, we can line up our sources of value which will help the customer drive measurable value in their business.
While it may be more difficult than ever, it's also more important than ever to sell our value.