Does the sales person really add value to his customers in B2B sales?
Absolutely, assuming the salesperson is a good salesperson. Here are just a few ways a good salesperson adds values to customers in B2B/enterprise sales:
- A good salesperson coordinates people and processes at the account.
Over and over and over, people in companies know that they have problem areas and challenges that need to be solved, yet without a good partner from the outside that coordinates the people and processes to make that organizational change, that change won’t happen.
By default, organizations are prone to the status quo bias. Because the salesperson is motivated and compensated to solve customer problems, often the salesperson is the one person pushing a sale through an organization.
Further, at big companies executives often don’t know their own processes for purchasing, implementing, and supporting a new product. Countless times I’ve organized meetings where executives at the same company had never met each other before the meeting I called.
Mapping out the purchasing and due diligence process is a key responsibility of a good salesperson. “This is what your Information Security needs from you… These are the metrics your Risk Management uses to evaluate vendors… Procurement requires that you fill out the TPS Report requesting a release of the budget associated with this purchase…”
- A good salesperson provides market information to customers.
I recently spoke with the former President/CEO of a very large financial services company. He told me that he always took meetings with sales people because “it’s great way to learn what’s going on out there.” His view is that good sales people bring him information about the market, competitors, new technology, new ideas. He needed those meetings because he needed to get a view of the world outside of his own people and their opinion.
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- A good salesperson educates customers.
This is the basis of the CEB’s Challenger™ Sale Model. This education is not just about the market and products, but about the company itself.
I was in a meeting two months ago with an executive at a very large bank. This bank has yet to work with any solutions providers deploying with Amazon Web Services.
By engaging with this executive and his group, I’m now educating that executive and their company about what’s possible with today’s technology. This education will help this company in the future with additional vendors, and opens the number of possibilities they’ll have to find technology partners, making their company run more efficiently, and ultimately provide a better experience for their customers.
Yep, all because of me… 🙂
- A good salesperson makes the customer look like a superhero.
As the sales process develops in an enterprise sale, there’s often a presentation to the potential user group at the account. These are typically lower level employees that will be the day-to-day users of the software or solution. Usually, the executive will select a few local managers and ask those managers to pull in 2-3 of their team members.
These employees are often paid by the hour and generally feeling underpaid and underappreciated. They’re the ones that have to deal with inefficient processes and bad legacy software that frustrates them and inhibits them from doing their job effectively and efficiently.
Think they like using Sharepoint and Excel to manage their day-to-day work? Of course not. Yet they have to deal with this every day.
When I’m in the room showing prospective users how our software works, it’s a magic show. Their eyes light up. They ask questions like – “You mean I don’t have to copy and paste all that data from place to another anymore? That’s going to save me at least two hours a day! This is great.” I’ve even had people say – “Holy sh&t, this is f&cking awesome!”
Because I’m there, showing how their work lives will improve my product, the executive receives all the glory for bringing in our company to show his team that he wants them to have a better work life.
- A good salesperson connects people and ideas
As a salesperson in a particular industry, I view myself as an information hub. At conferences for example, I’ll talk with 30-40 executives in a two-day span. When I’m talking with one, I often share ideas discussed with another executive. I’ll make introductions to executives across different companies.
Recently at a mortgage conference, I connected a mortgage executive that was looking to improve their reach to minorities and socially disadvantaged groups. An hour before, I had spoken to an executive at a government-related institution whose job was solely focused on helping lenders improve their reach to minorities and socially disadvantaged groups.
Guess who introduced these two people to each other?
- Implementation Planning & Execution
Enterprise product implementations are incredibly complex. Check out this article 2009 CIO Magazine article – “10 Famous ERP Disasters, Dustups and Disappointments” for a few examples of what happens when implementations go poorly.
A good salesperson uses their experience with previous customers to design, develop, and execute an implementation plan with their customer to not only sell the product, but to assure that its installation and utilization meets the customer’s requirements.
And just remember… Nothing happens until a sale is made. (Zig Ziglar).
**This Q&A article was originally posted on Quora. Check out Scott’s Quora page here.