Putting the Business into Strategic Business Selling

By Robert Brodo, President and CEO, Advantexe
A man in a suit looks at his phone with a building behind him.

One of the limitations to most traditional sales training approaches is that – while they are very good at training sales professionals to ask very good questions – if the sales professional doesn’t have the business acumen to understand the answers that come back, the deal may stall. Worse yet, the sales professional may lose trust and credibility and may never be able to make the sale.

That traditional approach is not very strategic, not good for business, and doesn’t lead to any sales.

Today, many organizations and sales leaders struggle to determine ways of generating more revenue. I believe that adopting an approach that embraces having a strong business acumen as a foundation is the surest way of generating more revenue. Here are eight benefits of having all sales professionals develop strong business acumen capabilities as the foundation for their sales approach:

Understand the Customer’s Needs Better

With business acumen, your sales professionals will be able to grasp the big picture of their customer’s business, including their strategies, goals, and objectives. Understanding the customer’s business allows you to position the value of your products and services from the business results perspective and not just from an internal products perspective.

Position Strategic Solutions from the Business Perspective

Instead of offering boilerplate solutions and just throwing out a bunch of benefits that may or may not be of value, your sales team can tailor your offerings both strategically and from the business perspective. For example, if the customer’s goal is to improve EBITDA, then you can propose solutions that demonstrate increased EBITDA and not just how shiny the new widget is. This approach helps in providing business value-driven propositions that directly impact the customer’s business objectives.

Building Trust and Credibility

Customers appreciate working with sales professionals who understand their industry, market, and competitors. Demonstrating a deep business acumen and engaging in strategic business dialogues enhances the credibility of the sales team and demonstrates they are not there just to make a sale but to contribute meaningfully to their business success.

Creative Business Problem Solving

One of the most important aspects of selling with strong business acumen is that you are able to see things about the customer’s business that they don’t see. Selling with business acumen typically involves a problem-solving mindset where your sales professionals are utilizing their skills to think outside of the box and working with internal and external resources to develop creative and impactful solutions that positively impact the customer’s goals and objectives.

More Effective Communications

Understanding the language of business enables your sales professionals to communicate more effectively with customers. When they speak the language of their customers, it is easier for them to convey the value of your solutions and how they tie into the customer’s business strategy.

Builds Long-Term Relationships

Good strategic business selling isn’t transactional. Utilizing business acumen in the sales process fosters trust and long-term relationships. Customers are more likely to stick with a sales partner who demonstrates a deep understanding of their industry and consistently delivers value.

Navigating Complexity and Ambiguity

Today’s business world is complex and ambiguous, without a lot of easy answers. Having a strong business acumen allows your sales professionals to navigate complexities – thinking about, developing, and then offering solutions that consider the broader business landscape and will provide for long-term customer success.

Versatility and Adaptability

The rate of change in the world and in business is accelerating more rapidly than ever before. Sales professionals will become dinosaurs if they don’t change and adapt. As the business landscapes change, sales professionals with a strong business acumen will be better equipped to adapt to industry shifts. This adaptability is crucial for sustained success.

In summary, selling with a business acumen perspective is not just about selling; it’s about becoming a trusted advisor and a valuable partner in your customer’s business journey.