Communicate Value to Win the Sale
Maybe this scenario sounds familiar: One of your sales reps has spent weeks pursuing and preparing to meet with a prospect, but when he or she finally gets a meeting, the result is a big zero. Later, the rep laments, "I told the prospect all about the socially enabled customer retention leveraging system and how it can help his company synergize backward overflow, but he didn't get it." Chalk up another lost sale to customer ignorance, right?
Wrong, says Neil Rackham, author of SPIN Selling. If you lose a sale because you can't effectively frame the value of your product or service, that's your fault, not the customer's.
How can sales managers help fix this? First, your sales team needs to consider that customers don't care about the latest lingo or technical jargon. They simply want to know about value. Time and time again, sales reps who can articulate the value of their solution will get the sale.
So how do sales managers get reps to move away from tech speak and toward a dialogue with customers? Rackham offers these suggestions.
Teaming. Shift from a one-person show to a team-selling approach, bringing in different people with different skills at different stages of the sales process. You might start with a generalist sales rep who can identify clients' needs and articulate your company's value proposition in lay terms. As the sale moves forward, you may bring in sales-support staff who can answer more technical questions and assist with proposal writing and a more detailed needs assessment. This approach requires a high degree of coordination between team members.
Training. Train at all levels so that everyone becomes a better communicator. "Many technical salespeople began their careers as technicians or engineers and then migrated to sales roles," says Rackham. "Therefore, they aren't inherently sales professionals." Education can equip your team to identify customer pains and relate your product's value to those needs at each step of the sales cycle.
Tools. Give technical salespeople the tools necessary to deliver the right message at the right time. Tools include everything from sales presentations to marketing collateral and call scripts. Most importantly, these tools must be founded in primary customer research so reps can use them to communicate compelling value propositions targeted to each buyer type within each market segment.
"We have used this approach to great effect with past clients, compiling playbooks that detail selling processes and appropriate messaging for specific target markets," says Rackham. "With minimal disruption to your sales force, you can successfully convert conversation in the field from gigabit Ethernet ports to return on investment and productivity." The results, he adds, speak for themselves.
– Selling Power Editors
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