Build A Sales Force Of Industry Experts To Become Trusted Partners To Your Customers

Sales executives can no longer just pitch products to win deals. Prospects expect industry expertise that will help them achieve their strategic objectives over and above products and services. Can your sales force deliver on these expectations?

Force Of Industry Experts To Become Trusted Partners To Your Customers

Question: Has your Sales Organisation provided information and training to equip sales executives to deliver insights from your industry that your customers find valuable – and are your current sales executives equipped to deliver insights from your industry that your customers find valuable?

The Reality 

According to our research at ThinkSales Global, only 39.8% of Sales Organisations provide information and training to equip sales executives to deliver insights from their industry that their customers find valuable.

In addition 36.9%, of companies rate their confidence as Outstanding that their current sales executives are equipped to deliver insights from their industry that their customers find valuable.

The ‘Industry Expertise’ Problem

When it comes to Strategic Account Management, sales professionals need to be pursuing deeper, more strategic business conversations.

The reason is simple. According to a McKinsey&Company survey, three trends in the B2B sales universe have emerged:

  1. Customers have become more demanding, insisting on both off-the-shelf products and more complex, customised solutions – with different levels of sales support.
  2. Companies servicing larger managed accounts are exploring lower-cost ways to make clients happier and to generate sales growth.
  3. Organisations large and small are following the lead of business-to-consumer (B2C) retailers such as Amazon.com by making smarter use of customer data to predict behaviour, drive sales and deepen relationships.

The need for expertise

The result, according to a McKinsey & Company is that: “Customers are pressuring their suppliers to bring the full depth of expertise to every sale.”

“As a result, B2B companies must decide between having a number of sales forces to sell different products or adding layers of sales specialists who can assist colleagues on the front line. As one purchasing manager said, ‘Most times, the pure sales guy will not help us at all – we really need the technical expertise to design the right solution.'”

Are your sales executives able to walk into a room, offer real value and close deals without outside assistance, or are you missing out on huge opportunities to competitors who can add more expertise and value to a deal? 

Sell value to the C-Suite

 If you really want to sell value to the C-Suite and become a preferred supplier (and build long-term relationships in the process), your sales force needs to be able to do the following:

  1. Know how your solutions create value, and what you offer the client. C-Suite executives are short on time, and they need to immediately see how you can create value for their company. In order to achieve this, your sales executives must have a clear idea of who you are, what you do, and how you make a difference. This requires a firm understanding of your business, your prospect’s business, their competitors, the market and the challenges they face.
  2. See the world through client eyes. If your sales executives don’t possess the necessary acumen to step out of their own roles and needs and into your customer’s shoes, they won’t be able to lead the conversation. The C-Suite executive is interested in talking about business. Your sales force needs to step up – and even lead where they can.
  3. Bring real expertise to the table to build trust. Your business is not just selling a product or service, but a solution. Subject matter experts build trust that your business will support your customers to achieve their objectives.

Do This: 

Sales managers can support their sales teams to build subject matter and industry expertise in the following ways:

  • Conduct regular training that focuses on building expertise in your industry. Customers don’t expect everyone to be experts in their businesses, but they do expect to be dealing with people who are industry-experts in their own industries.
  • The quickest way to develop expertise is to deeply understand the application of your offering inside your customers’ businesses. Speak to customers where your solution has been successful as well as customers where the implementation has been unsuccessful. Learn from both and develop an understanding of what your solution looks like in the real world of customers.
  • With an understanding of positive-versus-negative experiences in a number of different customer environments, your sales team can begin to build the expertise needed to advise their customers on how they themselves can achieve the best results.
  • Conduct weekly meetings where your entire team discusses the lessons they have learnt. Based on this knowledge, they will be able to help their customers to avoid risks associated with selecting the wrong product and to avoid scenarios that could result in poor implementation and poor results.

Assess the health of your sales organisation

Providing information and training to equip sales executives to deliver insights from their industry that their customers find valuable and sales executives who actually deliver those insights to customers are two of 322 measures of a world-class Sales Organisation.

ThinkSales Global is a specialist revenue engineering consultancy.

We assist our clients to deliver market-defying results through strategic and tactical intentions within a Sales Organisation Maturity Model that addresses the five key pillars of high-performing Sales Organsations, namely:

  1. Competitive Strategy
  2. Customer Engagement
  3. Sales Talent
  4. Sales Management
  5. Sales Enablement

How does your Sales Organisation stack up? Find out by taking the ThinkSales 5 Pillar Strategic Sales Assessment™.

This first-of-its-kind 360-degree gap analysis report enables your Sales Leadership team to assess its strengths and detect weaknesses and impediments to revenue growth across the five pillars.

Click here for more information on the ThinkSales 5 Pillar Strategic Sales Assessment™.

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