The revival of B2B sales. 3 reasons why it is more than every key for subject matter experts.
Who does not recall the image of sales in the past? An exceptional person. With special powers. And super network. Putting a spell on you enabling you to buy the socks you wear all over again. An image reinforced by movies like “The Wolf of…”, “Glengarry”, “Boiler Room”, portraying manipulation and greed.
In a way this image is sad. As sales is the start and finale of entrepreneurship. We can talk about innovation, create the best products, design websites, scope out markets, design demand generation campaigns but without sales there is no closure. No “turning the relationship into tangible outcome”.
So is B2B sales something a non-sales professional can do? Yes! 3 reasons why it is important now:
1. Your expertise sells till your last delivery – yesterday you did a great job as subject matter expert (i.e. you are a lawyer, consultant, engineer, techie, accountant) for your customer. Exceeded expectations. However customers increasingly seek shorter cycle projects to enable quicker results and real time learning before kicking off a next project. Hence reviewing who will operate the next project has become the norm. So how willing are you as expert to proactively connect and understand why your customer should choose you again?
2. Innovation is becoming a commodity – everybody, scale-up or longstanding corporate, is promoting how innovative they are. Great! However innovation does not sell itself. We experience customers talking about their innovation but not connecting to the market other than social sharing. Are you building solutions and “just sharing hopefully”? How do you know your customers understand your innovation? Do they recognize themselves in what the innovation “brings” or is it “tech feature” push. The moment you drive features, you just commoditized every potential uniqueness as competition has become real time. So how willing are you to proactively start dialogue about how your innovation fits your customers needs?
3. “Digital” is a potential threat to your expertise – sure everyone is driving new business models (subscriptions), putting solutions “in the cloud” hence making it easy for customers to get faster results. And digitization is also a great way to potentially simplify and accelerate your business. But are you aware you just contributed to the abundance of solutions your customer can choose from? So are you willing to rethink where you will add value on top of your “cloud proposition” or subscription?
Next blog will elaborate on how a professional can “sell” without pushing.
Frits Willem Bakker