Sales field alignment with the modern day buyer requires more than lip service. This blog is focused on the transformation of Sales to incorporate buyer-centered tools. CMO’s can help sales make the number next year.
Marketing Leaders Guide the Way
A strength of the marketing discipline is a natural thirst for buyer insights. Understanding how the prospect thinks is part of the CMO’s DNA.
In contrast, the Sales industry in general has been dragged kicking and screaming to buyer-centricity. The evolution to needs-based solution selling helped. But for the most part needs-based selling has been used as a technique to better ‘tell’ the prospect what they need.
A-Player sales reps use intuition to figure out how to approach the modern buyer. A-Players typically have an acute sense for the needs of their customers. Top performers often evolve ahead of the rest of the sales force. They operate successfully in spite of company-centered sales processes. They ‘smooth’ the friction between a prospect and your company’s stone-age sales process.
The sales field evolution to user-centricity has been occurring at the grassroots level. The major gap is at the sales leadership level from the top-down. Sales organizations lack the support and guidance to transform the entire sales field. Today’s marketing leaders are poised to help.
WANTED: CMO’s to Guide Sales to Make the Number
Sales leaders need support from marketing to make the transformation to buyer-centricity. There are three major areas of support marketing can provide sales. Sales leaders can bring in a consultant and perform this without marketing. Ideally marketing and sales align efforts to quicken the pace.
Three steps to fast track buyer-centered selling:
1. Buyer Process Maps – BPM’s are a sales tool that maps the decision-making process used to purchase a product or service.
- Provides the sales team a blueprint so they can get into deals early enough to win them
- Increases win rates through Buyer and Seller alignment
- Role of Marketing:
- Facilitate the creation of BPM, and/or manage the selection of a consulting firm who specializes in developing Buyer Process Maps
- Vet the prototype in the field through audience interviews and field observation
- Contribute company and/or 3rd party executed audience research to validate BPM findings
2. Social Selling Guidance – A modern prospecting methodology that fills the funnel with opportunities.
- Generates meetings with decision makers inside of your target prospects
- Frees sales from day-to-day dependence on marketing for leads
- Role of Marketing:
- Training and quick reference guidance on social selling best practices
- Company profile text and support to create LinkedIn profiles
- Introduction and referral templates for InMail, Email and Connection messages
- Nurture content for LinkedIn status updates
3. Sales Process infused with Buyer Insights – Allows a sales team to sell the way the customer wants to buy.
- Selling in a different way based on a specific understanding of the way buyers buy
- Higher close rates and reduced cycle times due to alignment with the buyer
- Role of Marketing:
- Participate in expert panel sessions to map the buyer’s process to the sales process
- Validate expert panel suggestions through the lens of audience research
- Develop external audience-centered sales aids (Case Studies, product comparison grids, etc.).
These three buyer-centered tools work in concert together. Social Selling provides expanded access to decision makers. The Buyer Process Map gives sales insights to get into a deal early. The BPM and sales process together give sales the highest probability to win.
Fast Track to Success
CMO’s can help sales make the number next year. Move quick to stop the bleeding. The sales field is suffering. Customers are suffering. Sales lacks buyer-centered tools for success.
Take action now to evaluate the depth of business impact. Drive positive change in the organization. Leverage the tool 8 Strategic Imperatives of Buyer-Centric Selling to identify the business impacts. You will be surprised at the depth of impact to your company, sales force and customers.