“Can I plug into the projector to present some slides?”
Oh god! Here we go again! The “product pitcher” is ready to power through his 25 slides of features, functions, and logo slides. Someone please get me outta here! You can’t stop him; you can only hope to contain him.
Product pitches are dead! Buyers today know too much. They have been to your website 20 times. They read your eBooks and white papers. They open your email newsletters every month. They read ever blog post your company has ever written. THEY KNOW MORE ABOUT YOUR PRODUCTS THAN YOU!
In a recent Forrester Research report of B2B executive buyers, 80% of the salespeople they meet with have an agenda focused on presenting their products, rather than understanding the buyer.
Buyers today don’t want to be sold to; they want to be educated. The ‘A’ players that exceed quota every year have figured this out. They do their homework and show up prepared for meetings. They exhibit three key habits that put them a step above their competition.
HABIT 1 – They understand the buyer persona and their company. Top reps start by gaining an understanding of the company. What industry are they in? How big are they? What are their buying behaviors? What are the market trends? What are their business challenges? Then, they look at their buying process. They figure out who the decision-maker is, the decision influencers, and the end users. With this knowledge, they can then craft a playbook and win strategy.
HABIT 2 – They help buyers ‘connect the dots’. No one cares that you have a fully redundant, infinitely scalable, big data, thing-a-ma-bob. What buyers want to know is whether your offerings can solve a problem that THEY care about. The best reps exhibit a genuine desire to better understand the buyer and their company. They don’t just ask “what” questions they also ask “why”. Why do you do it that way? Why haven’t you changed? Why now? With this knowledge, they can then help the buyer understand where they currently are, where they can be, and what success will look like. Top reps come prepared with insights that challenge the status quo and get buyers thinking about the possibilities.
HABIT 3 – They clearly differentiate their offerings. Average sales reps can rattle off a feature and function comparison of their offerings compared to a competitor. Top reps have the knowledge and confidence to differentiate based on desired outcomes. They understand the customers’ next best alternative, which can be ‘do nothing’, and make the buyer feel like they will be missing out if they decide not to go forward with their offerings.
Replicating these habits isn’t easy. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. But by doing so, you close more deals, faster and see an upgrade in performance of your entire team.
B2B sales and marketing leaders need to commit to providing their teams with the tools and knowledge necessary to show up for customer meetings prepared to engage buyers and help them understand a problem and how to solve it.
About the author: Colm Lennon is the Founder of Haka Products. Haka Connect helps B2B sales reps close more deals, faster with an automated process in your Salesforce CRM for understanding buyers, the company they work for, and their priorities. Colm previously held IT and Product Management Leadership positions in a Fortune 100 company. In addition to his LinkedIn profile, you can also interact with Colm on his Twitter account @ColmLennon.