When working with organizations built on sales and marketing, I hear the same thing over and over.
“The sales guys have to go out and sell this”.
Combine this with the reluctance of companies to properly train and mentor their salespeople and you have a recipe for disaster.
Consultative sales is about filling a need that the customer has with a product or service that your company offers, can create or is willing to find for the client. The salesperson is the front-line relationship builder with the client base. If there is a problem with the product, the sales person often knows first. Delivery problems, the salesperson’s cell phone rings.
The salesperson’s job is to discover needs and opportunities, and in doing so, what features and benefits a customer really requires.
I once worked with an organization that introduced a new case that had an easy-open clasp. It wasn’t even a product feature, it was the case that held the product. Marketing took it upon themselves to make this the focal point of new brochures and ads. Not only that, the price was increased by a couple of percentage points because the ease of use would save time and effort. And all this was completed without input from the salespeople. Of course when it was launched, it was a dismal failure.
Clients laughed at the salespeople for even considering that this would have an impact on their buying decision, and eventually the discount salespeople offered brought the cost back down to previous levels.
Sales tools need to be designed by and for the salespeople. I don’t argue that product specs etc. are technical and need to be front and centre in product literature or sell sheets, however the impact, the value add, the benefit to the client needs to come directly from those who know the client best.
Once a salesperson’s input is considered, the sales cycle will work so much easier, that is if the salespeople know what the sales cycle is.
Sales training is infrequent by many organizations because they don’t understand its value, they don’t have a proper method of reinforcement or they simply don’t have a manager that can effectively manage a sales person or team. Often the salesperson is left to fend for themselves. The fact is that everyone in the organization who interacts with a client is a salesperson, and they should have even basic sales training programs every year.
How many sales opportunities are missed in your company because the client dealt with someone other than the “salesperson”? Don’t neglect the revenue generators!