magazine | August 26, 2016
We see some obvious clusters among the world’s largest sales forces. Several technology companies run the gamut of hardware, software, and software as a service (SaaS). They go to market through a direct model. The health care industry includes pharmaceutical manufacturers, medical equipment companies, and commercial health insurers. Most of their products and services are ultimately used by consumers. But they are sold indirectly through plan sponsors or health care providers, which is a B2B selling motion. Lastly, we have diversified industrial and business services.
What do these companies have in common, to necessitate such large sales forces? They all deal in highstakes sales, which involve three key components: importance, complexity, and scale.
Medical equipment companies are a great example. Large hospital systems decide on which devices will be used in procedures that may impact a patient’s quality of life. At the same time, hospital systems must balance device considerations with the overall cost of health care.
For example, accountable care organizations (ACOs) have a payment and care delivery model that ties provider reimbursements to quality metrics and reductions in the total cost of care for a particular patient population. With the emergence of ACOs, the focus is shifting from the cost of the device to the total cost of care—including procedures, prescriptions, and so forth. Ultimately, health care providers seek to leverage technology advances that lower costs while improving patient outcomes.
Enterprise software often affects several departments. Each department leader needs to assess the ramifications
to his or her function. This process may involve different business units. In addition, the finance team must determine whether to capitalize or fund the purchase through operating expenses. Each of these decisions has trade-offs that further expand the buyer’s decision-making team.
This process is not necessarily related to the complexity of the product. Moreover, in today’s world, buyers find an abundance of product information online. Where customers need sales guidance is in determining how the proposed solution will impact them and their firm. A seller’s knowledge of the buying team’s requirements, company goals, and industry is much more valuable than product expertise.
The diversified industrial sector provides a good example of scale, when the product being sold constitutes a large percentage of the buyer’s cost structure. Choosing the right system and vendor is vital to the construction of a power plant. Because of the significant capital investment and service streams, a major portion of utility costs for the life of the plant will hinge on this one key decision.
The figures above provide a snapshot of matched competitors, including example revenues and profits generated per sales employee in similar industries. These high-stakes interactions call for sizable sales teams that can engage deeply with buyers. Customers are staking their reputations, and in some cases their careers, on making the right purchase decision.
In order to gain a position on the SBI 100 or improve your company’s current ranking, the sales force must understand your customers’ goals, market challenges, and unmet needs. That prepares them to discuss how your company’s products or services
help solve important, complex, large scale problems. Ultimately, it leads customer buying teams to call for comprehensive sales support to close the deal.
A hot topic on the minds of executives, validated by SBI’s Growth Advisory Board Program, is w...
CEOs often get lost in data while trying to decide what’s working, if there is too much, or if...
To say your salesforce is changing is an understatement. Not only have there been shifts in adapting...
Imagine the following: As you scroll through social media, you come across an ad. Not just any ad th...
Organizations have had to drastically reimagine their revenue model since last year to accommodate t...
SBI recently held its first Chief Financial Officer Growth Forum to bring together like-minded finan...
SBI recently held its Spring Growth Advisory Board meeting where less than a dozen market-leading Pr...
SBI TV episodes bring you Sales and Marketing insights from B2B industry thought leaders and growth experts, on topics like product, pricing, customer experience and success, and go to market. Catch up on new and previous episodes here.