By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® – The Sales Training Company
It’s painful when by failing to read handwriting on the wall, organizations embrace inertia rather than change. General Motors peaked in the mid-60’s and arrogantly watched for decades as their quality and market share eroded until the US government rescued them from bankruptcy. In business if companies wait long enough, decisions get made for them. Few, like GM are too big to fail. Many disappear with a whimper.
As someone who has worked in or with sales organizations throughout my career, it’s been painful to watch the snail’s pace at which vendors have adapted to changing buying behaviors. Vendors have failed to accept that people prefer buying rather than being sold. CustomerCentric Selling® redefined selling as asking questions to empower buyers to achieve goals through the use of a seller’s offering. Most vendors continue to cling to old school selling: “convincing, persuading and overcoming objections” that is so offensive for knowledgeable buyers.
Part of the decision to launch CCS® in 2002 was the recognition that a larger percentage of transactions were continuous improvement rather than disruptive offering sales. A new approach was needed to sell the 4th generation of ERP software than was used to sell a company’s initial MRP system 30 years prior. It was a step toward recognizing that knowledgeable buyers want sellers to treat them differently.
Like GM, sales organization stuck with their approaches to selling even as the chasm widened with how buyers wanted to buy. It’s better to be late to a party rather than not attend. Vendors that make enterprise decisions to align with buyers will be in much better position to drive top line revenue growth as the economy emerges from long period of malaise.
The cost/square foot is less for new construction than renovating older homes. The same is true for organizations as they flail in trying to align with new buying behavior. Some fundamental concepts of being customer-centric must be built in from the start rather than bolted onto existing silos.
The shift from being offering-centric to being customer-centric is a difficult one. That said today’s buyers won’t be fooled by a skim coat over cracked plaster or lip service about being customer-centric. They’ll reward vendors that build offerings around customer requirements. In order to do so the silos of product development, marketing and sales must be broken down to deliver superior buying experiences to drive revenue growth.