Eric Gervet and Steffen Oder authored a report for A T Kearney on The Future of B2B sales. “In a survey of 1600 top sales managers and professionals in a diverse cross section of industries from consumer goods and retail to energy and utilities—including businesses that sell in turn to individual consumers and small businesses” in search of support for their hypothesis that B2B sales has fundamentally changed. The write “…almost all will see a massive shift in bargaining power toward their customers, driven by Internet-fueled market transparency and globalization. all sorts of disintermediation and reintermediation have redefined products and services and reconfigured entire value chains—routinely leading to new entrants and substitutes.”
Pitch.Link ‘Selling Pains Survey’ reveals – Getting (and waiting for) a Face-to-Face impacts 80% of all sales efforts.
Over the past several weeks we have been running the Selling Pains Survey amongst sales professionals and this is what we figured :
Sharon Drew Morgen is a contrarian voice in the sales universe. She was perhaps among the first to point out that the sales process which has not changed (while everything around business has ) over the past 100 years need some relooking. Why should a 5% close rate be acceptable for companies?
Andy Raskin, the Guru of storytelling in the business context has written some of the most educative articles on the subject. I have had the opportunity in experiencing his presentation of “The Promised Land” narrative at the Drift Hypergrowth Conference at SFO last September. On the back of his Greatest Sales Deck article, where he exemplified the Zuorapitch deck, he wrote how it is critical to get buy in from the sales team before the narrative can be taken public. Never assume it is the lone job of the founder or the top management team to take the brand story to the market.
David Cancel wrote an article for Inc where he revealed the ‘simple lesson from Charlie Munger’ that helped Drift hit 8 figure revenue.
This was truly counterintuitive – at least when Charlie Munger started applying it to Berkshire Hathaway investment philosophy. For starters it was the outlook. The ability to have a contrarian view to a situation. David quotes Munger from the book Damn Right: Behind the Scenes with Berkshire Hathaway Billionaire Charlie Munger:
Key to understanding is the ability to ask appropriate questions and listen for the answers
Sharon Drew Morgen wrote about her idea of Facilitative questions. She writes : “Decades ago I had an idea that questions could be vehicles to facilitate change in addition to eliciting answers. ……Here’s the big idea: using questions directed to help Others efficiently recognize their own route to Excellence, and change as appropriate vs. using questions to seek answers that benefit the Asker. This shift in focus alone creates an automatic trust.”
A few weeks back Bob Apollo (the founder of Inflexion-Point Strategy Partners, the leading UK-based B2B value-selling consultancy) wrote an insightful article in LinkedIn – about sales methodologies and simple practicality. Sales in a B2B scenario is a value transaction process. For the sales person (vendor) to offer value to the prospect (customer) the core is to figure the real pain (need) and offer an optimal solution. Bob terms this – situational selling and goes on to explain – ‘…It recognises that there is no such thing as a “standard” sales situation and that, therefore, there can be no one universally perfect approach’.
I came across an article in Business Mirror (and HBR) by Steve W Martin a teacher of sales strategy at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business where he outlines 6 major reasons why Salespeople wins or looses sales.
This is what a D&B infographic circulated a while back citing a Butler Group report. Venture Beat wrote an article calling this stat nonsense and that it was never reported. However there was a lot of discussion around this in media. The factors behind seems plausible – so someone took a lot of trouble to make the stats look believable.