Do sales organizations really need a B2B sales strategy? After all, pundits tell us it’s the buyer’s journey that matters. They’re in control, so shouldn’t account-based selling pros just be prepared to wing it?
Besides, developing and implementing any strategy—whether for sales, service, marketing, or products—can take weeks or months. Once you’ve mapped the company sales strategy, you need to consistently dissect it, revise it, and communicate it. And the hard work doesn’t stop there. Account-based selling teams need their own specific strategy with sales activities mapped to each stage of the sales process, which then needs to be mapped to the buyers’ processes.
It’s complicated and time-consuming. And is it really necessary?
You know the answer to that question, even if you’d rather not admit it. Without a strategy, salespeople are up a creek with no paddle. And that’s a problem, because even when our buyers are steering the boat, they expect us to help them get where they need to go.
I’m with you. I don’t like complicated. That’s why I resonated with this straightforward approach to determining if your existing strategy is working. It’s written by my long-time colleague, Tris Brown, CEO of LSA Global.
Is Your Solution Selling Strategy Working?
By Tris Brown
All sales leaders need to regularly ask if their organization’s sales strategy is achieving the desired results. Are the investments and strategies actually moving their teams forward in a way that makes sense? If not, the longer they delay figuring out what needs to change, the deeper they’ll fall into a hole.
Based on my experience with thousands of solution selling training program participants, here are a few signs that your B2B sales strategy needs a review and re-work:
- Lagging Growth: You are not growing as fast as your competitors or your industry.
- Decreased Effectiveness: Your paths to market are not working as effectively as they once did.
- Greater Expectations: You are expected to reach higher than ever before with the same resources.
- Inconsistency: You record huge differences in revenue from one sales rep to another, and from one area to another.
- Conflicts: Your team’s success metrics conflict with each other, with other departments, or with the overall business strategy.
If you are experiencing any of the above sales strategy warning signs, it is time to take another look at your value proposition, target client profile, and key sales and marketing strategies to acquire, grow, and retain clients.
Here’s the payoff: While only one in 10 sales organizations consistently follow solution selling training best practices, those 10 percent grow more rapidly than their competition.
Take a close look at your existing strategy, sales culture, and sales training practices to ensure alignment and execution. As a sales leader, make sure you get your arms around:
1. Identifying and Focusing on Strategic and Major Accounts
Know where the revenue potential exists so you can make informed decisions about how to invest and where to deploy your resources. Rank your accounts by performance and potential, based on agreed-upon criteria. Have sales reps immerse themselves in the high potentials until they have multiple contacts at various levels and understand who the buyers are, as well as the customer criteria and process for making purchase decisions.
2. Following a Consistent Solution Selling Methodology
The actual selling process begins with prospecting for targeted opportunities. Your sales pipeline should reflect all the deals you are chasing and be weighted to provide a clear picture of where each prospect stands in the buying process. Then work with sales reps to agree on a solution selling methodology that works for your team.
3. Building a World-Class Sales Team
Smart sales leaders invest the time and resources necessary to build a team of “A” players who fit within the sales culture and can execute the sales strategy. On average, top sales reps generate five to 10 times more revenue than average players. That represents a huge boost to your numbers. When you hire, don’t settle. Go for the best and do what it takes to keep them engaged and retained.
4. Investing in Sales Tools and Resources
Give your reps the sales tools they need to optimize their time with their customers. They should have systems for customer relationship management, for knowledge sharing among team members, and for accessing success stories, customer testimonials, and research. They should also receive targeted solution selling training that focuses on a few critical scenarios that matter most for your sales strategy and target customer profile.
Do yourself, your team, and your company a favor. Once a quarter, take the time to re-evaluate how well your sales strategy is serving you. The modifications you make can translate directly to improved performance.
(Note: The original version of this article appeared on LSA Global’s blog. It has been edited slightly and reposted with permission from Tris Brown.)
About the Author
As CEO and Chairman of LSA Global, Tris Brown is responsible for the overall strategic direction and management of the company and client services. He has more than 25 years of consulting and management experience, and his passion is creating and implementing impactful strategies for clients that align their culture and talent with their most important initiatives. Read more about Tris.
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