Leadership Journal: B2B Sales Strategy

Many leaders enamored with the allure of digital innovations get excited by changing a business instantly. They want innovations that scale, impact customer experience, and create growth hacks that turbocharge sales.

And yet, even with these tremendous advances, have they created a rock-solid B2B sales strategy yet? This is the final mile. Two noteworthy examples are:

  • Software as a service (SaaS): Are you meeting the immediate needs of the customer as you pursue the full product suite sale?
  • Consultant or agency: Can you patiently align with your client as you push for more-comprehensive strategic relationships?

The danger leaders face in each of these industries is losing sight of the present. This is a necessary first step. In the era of digital transformation, B2B customers recovered from the hangover of over-investing in the future. They are now looking inside their companies first for untapped assets to help set a course for the future.

To be part of this trend, leverage the best practices of Silicon Valley’s time-tested success secrets to increasing efficiency. Google and others believe in flat hierarchies, radical transparency, mutual accountability, rigor for agile thinking and workflows, and constant experimentation. The client and vendor must collaborate within this framework.

Adopt a “radical departure” in your sales process

Ken Rutsky, in his book “Launching to Leading: How B2B Market Leaders Breakthrough, Lead, and Transform their Markets” offers a great roadmap. Ken is a longtime veteran of Silicon Valley where he consults today. He saw chip era boom with Intel and was on the ground floor of Internet 1.0 at Netscape. Stanford-educated, Ken has seen it all in the Valley.

In Ken’s mind, we need a “radical departure” from the “solution/diagnostic” selling” approach of endless old-school discovery sessions. Let’s face it, sales executives and the clients can learn about each other through 10 minutes of Google search. With efficiencies like that, there’s no excuse for not knowing your customer going into a meeting.

Speed to adding value is the differentiator, and customers demand it.

Three key principles for upgrading your sales strategy

To get there, Ken says today’s high performing B2B sales reps keep these three principles in mind:

  1. Establish a shared context with the customer.
  2. Teach the customer and enable them to be a teacher, too.
  3. Never hesitate to demonstrate the value of the product, service or solution.

Practicing these principles requires trust. And the path to trust starts by sharing. Share your experiences and educate your prospects and customers. Always make your product or service applicable to the here and now for the customer. And remember the adage of teaching customers to fish for themselves rather than do the fishing for them. Your executive presence will appear classier, and you won’t be seen as a widget-seller.

Follow this approach, and you’ll shine as more credible, strategic, and compassionate. Your customers will appreciate your help as they succeed at creating positive and lasting change within their organizations.

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