Customer centricity and stiff competition in the tech industry are changing how sales enablement operate. Teams need to focus on sales reps solving customer challenges instead of simply selling products and services.
Sell Solutions Instead of Products
Traditional sales enablement motions are focused on sales and product training that sales reps are expected to master. In the general marketplace, a training-oriented effort is applicable, but that does not hold true for the tech sector. In the tech sector solutions are sold, and products and services are rendered. The tech industry is not known for having category killers, and there are always alternative options for buyers. When products and services are comparable, so the competition can compete on price, promotional offerings, and placement. How can sellers differentiate themselves in such a competitive environment? They focus on selling solutions to customer problems.
Solution selling isn’t a new concept. It has been around since 1975 when Frank Watts formulated the sales process. What often gets lost is how sellers can be enabled when it comes to solutions selling. Particularly in the tech sector where customer challenges can’t always be answered with a one size fits all response. Selling technology isn’t like selling a widget that fits into a companies supply chain. Technology requires end-user adoption and utilization. This is where sales enablement fits into the puzzle.
Customer Centricity- a Differentiated Rationale for Enablement Materials
It’s safe to presume that most sellers are not engineers that develop the technology. However, the financial success of technology falls on the sales team’s ability to sell. Taking the traditional route of product training is not going to get it done. Sales enablement teams need to train on solving problems and selling the solution to the problem. You might be asking yourself, how is that different? The difference comes down to customer centricity.
Selling a solution requires teams to know what problems they are solving on behalf of the customer. Every seller needs to know product features, but that’s lower on the customer centricity totem pole. Understanding why the customer would be interested in the product is much more critical. In other words, the customer needs to care about the value proposition. Which means answering the question, why should I buy from you? The training collateral and the talk tracks reps should master need to be geared towards the customer’s challenges in order to solve for the “Why” value.
Once that is understood and conveyed to the customer reps can dig into the product features. All this is to answer the question of how it adds value to the customer.
Value Stories- The Solution Sales Enablement Framework
The question arises, how can this process be replicated with success within the tech industry? Reps need a narrative-driven approach in telling the story instead of selling the product. At SBI we leverage a tool referred to as a Value Story. Value stories serve as a sales aid for tech sales reps. The responsibility falls upon the enablement team to leverage the value story framework. It starts by gathering success stories of how customers benefit from the product or solution. Then it is applied against a series of customer challenges. All of which are cataloged to serve as training aids by the sales enablement team.
Within each challenge resides a successful outcome or failure. The learnings from either outcome are to be gathered and socialized with sales reps to leverage. The figure below shows how to leverage a value story framework. The example used represents a foundational problem. The Acme Company needs to have consistent messaging across their sales and marketing teams. Consistent messaging plays a key role in maximizing your customer centricity. After all, the customer needs to hear a unified brand voice along the buyer’s journey.
The conduit for that unified messaging is often the sales enablement team. The framework below begins by addressing the problem statement at the top. Each step of the process is defined by a “what” representing the needs of the sales and marketing team. The “How” defines the action items that the sales enablement team needs to complete. Finally, the “Why” represents the internal benefit and the purpose of the action. It’s up to the sales enablement team to customize the content by leveraging the framework. Repeating the successful stories from one customer to another helps reps understand the value. This framework allows sales enablement teams to solve a variety of problem statements.
If you are a sales enablement lead in technology, how are you leveraging value stories? Is your content library and training methodologies focused on helping reps sell value? These are two key questions to answer as many tech companies are product focused when it comes to their training. Customer centricity and value stories are best practices to help differentiate sales enablement in the tech sector.
If you’d like to learn more about how to increase customer centricity and leverage value stories within your organization; click here.