When Dave DiStefano, CEO of Richardson, took the stage in Philadelphia at the Sales 2.0 Conference in March, he pointed out that many companies get off on the wrong foot with customers because they make the sales process all about themselves and not the customer.
One of DiStefano’s biggest points was that sales leaders need to figure out how to create a dynamic sales process. He quoted research from the CSO Insights 2014 Sales Performance Optimization survey showing that salespeople who rely on a dynamic sales process achieve quota 64 percent of the time compared to reps who rely on a “random” process (and achieve quota only 52 percent of the time). According to DiStefano, a dynamic process allows salespeople the flexibility to meet customers on their terms and adapt to their needs and expectations.
To create a dynamic sales process, understand that buyers expect salespeople to bring value right out of the gate. That means sellers must understand their customers’ business challenges before they embark on a conversation. According to IDC’s 2013 IT Buyer Experience Survey, customers face a number of unique needs and pressures:
* Thirty percent report longer decision cycles.
* Ninety-five percent require financial justification before buying.
* Twenty percent report a decline in deal size.
Also, a high percentage of survey participants reported that sellers were unable to successfully articulate their value. As DiStefano said, this is a problem for sellers, but it shouldn’t be. He told the audience, “We all have passion for what we do and what we sell. It’s important to keep in mind that people buy from you when they trust you enough to help them solve their problems, when they know that you understand their business, and when they know that you understand them.”
With this in mind, DiStefano offered two takeaways for sales leaders to consider:
1. Know where the buyer is, and begin the sales process there. Focus on moving the buyer through his or her company’s process, not yours.
2. Avoid asking the buyer to take too big of a leap. Don’t close in your time frame. Take into account the risk the buyer is taking. For example, don’t ask buyers to take a leap of faith on price without ensuring that they understand the value you bring.
Join Richardson at their next post-conference workshop on May 7 in San Francisco at The Four Seasons Hotel.