By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® – The Sales Training Company
Image courtesy of Stock Images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
In past blogs I’ve shared my opinion that it’s unlikely that people doing extensive research on offerings via vendor Websites are executives. Their interests and viewpoints tend to be from personal, user or departmental perspectives. A Sales Benchmark Index (SBI) study showed over 50% of sales cycles that end with sellers involved, result in buyers making “no decision.” I believe a major contributor is a lack of compelling business cases.
When trying to justify expenditures, a seller’s challenge in complex sales is to provide an enterprise view of value. Consider a seller’s software that could measure usage and age of capital equipment and predict when to perform maintenance to avoid outages.
Let’s assume the seller only called on the maintenance department, and the manager of the department readily saw that maintenance costs could be reduced. The seller provided a proposal and nothing happened. Why? One reason could be that the recommendation reflected a departmental view of the maintenance group and never uncovered other potential benefits.
If the seller could have taken it a step further to help buyers realize unscheduled down time could be avoided, then other Key Players within an enterprise that could become stakeholders and derive benefit include:
- The Production Manager could improve uptime, reduce overtime and meet production schedules.
- The Plant Manager could lower operating expenses and meet shipment schedules.
- The VP Sales could avoid lost customers due to production delays caused by outage.
- The CFO could improve margins by virtue of reducing costs and revenue shortfalls caused by outages.
- The CEO could report stronger earnings and top line revenue to drive the company’s valuation higher.
The price quoted would be the same whether it was in a proposal to the Maintenance Manager or the committee of Key Players. An enterprise view makes the buying decision far easier.
Competent B2B sellers that get involved in buying cycles provide all parties an early qualification check: Is there sufficient value to justify the cost of the offering being considered? Without an answer to that question “no decision” seems more likely than getting funding.