• Number One Sales Priority for 2011: Show Buyers the Money

    Improve sales’ ability to show benefits/value to prospects is the number one tactic to improve sales performance in 2011, according to a recent survey by CSO Insights.

    With two economic downturns in the past decade, buyers have permanently and fundamentally changed, requiring that solution providers prove the bottom-line impact, significant return on investment (ROI) and fast payback of any proposed solution.  This condition, termed “frugalnomics,” requires that sales professionals adopt new tactics, to connect, engage and sell to today’s more economic-focused buyer.

    Sales executives are recognizing the changing buyer landscape, and are seeking to re-engineer and empower sales professionals to meet the needs of these new buyers and effectively fight frugalnomics. Respondents decidedly indicate that improving the ability to show benefits/value to prospects is the number one priority for 29% of respondents, and a top priory by 60%.

    This dramatically exceeds the next highest priorities by 25% or more, particularly Reaching People with Power, Optimizing Sales Processes, and Increasing Customer Loyalty.

    Proving Benefits and Value Throughout the Buyer’s Journey

    In order to succeed in this new environment, sales professionals need to show the benefits of proposed solutions and prove superior value to ever more frugal buyers.

    The successful sales groups will move from selling products, to helping buyer’s facilitate their decision making cycle, a set of change management steps a buyer goes through in their journey towards a purchase decision.

    In the beginning of the journey, buyers often are risk adverse, and unwilling to make a change. The status quo is often good enough. They are often unaware that certain issues should be a priority.  At this Discovery phase in the journey, sales professionals needs to help buyer’s understand that certain issues should be a priority, and that solutions exist to help solve the opportunities and deliver significant benefits. At this stage, the sales professional seeks to make the issue a priority to solve, over all other issues.

    In the middle phases of the buyer’s journey, the Consideration phase, the solution should be justified with a formal business case, in order to convince other stakeholders and executives that the proposal can deliver, especially when compared to other proposed projects, a significant ROI, quick payback. The sales professional seeks to make the proposed project a priority over all other proposed projects.

    In the final step of the journey, the Decision phase, sales professionals need to assure buyers that the selected solution represents the best value over competitive alternatives. At this stage, assuring the buyer that the solution delivers incremental value, less risk, and lower total cost of ownership.

    According to IDC, moving to a comprehensive value selling approach across the buyer’s journey has proven to substantially help:

    1. Drive higher level engagements
    2. Reduce sales cycles and unfreeze stuck deals
    3. Reduce discounting and improve deal size / transaction value
    4. Improve competitive win rates

    The Bottom Line

    Buyers have fundamentally and permanently changed, requiring sales to take a new approach to fight the current “frugalnomics” trend.  The priority for 2011 clearly recognizes this shift, with an initiative for sales enablement to prove the benefits and value of solutions to ever more frugal buyers.  Best practices, mapped to the buyer’s journey facilitation, can point the way to the right provocative, value selling tools to use to facilitate the buyer’s decision making process.

    Tom Pisello founded Alinean Inc. in 2001 where he coined the term, “Frugalnomics.”  You can read his daily blog at Tom Pisello: The ROI Guy.

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