The Buyers Journey is Complicated
It’s more complex than ever to close a deal with a large company. There is a minimum of 6.8 buyers involved. Buyers have to validate, collaborate and come to a consensus before a decision is made.
Gartner research finds that when B2B buyers are considering a purchase‚ they spend only 17% of that time meeting with potential suppliers. When buyers are comparing multiple suppliers‚ the amount of time spent with sales reps might be only 5% or 6%.
To be great at sales these days, your team needs to tap into some soft skills that they might not have tapped into before.
I call these Salesperson Superpowers. Here are four that I feel are imperative.
Salespeople must be creative. In the past having creativity wasn’t required but it has always been helpful. You had to be good at getting appointments, know your product well, and do a good pitch.
We’ve all heard that 70% of the buyer’s journey is complete before a buyer even reaches out to sales (SiriusDecisions). Even if your salespeople get in front of them early there is competition everywhere. That means they have to be creative about how they approach the sale, and they need to have creative solutions to bring to the table. Most of all, they need to be creative about how to get the prospect’s attention. People who need your products and services don’t want to be spammed (cold calling, cold emails, cold LinkedIn connections). So how will your salespeople get their attention? Then how are they going to keep it long enough to make the sale? The creativity superpower requires the understanding of all the buyer’s needs, their business, industry and their clients better than ever before.
Salespeople must be resourceful. When they come up with a creative idea, they need the resources to deploy it. As their sales leader, you need to help make this happen. It is critical to understand how to employ the resources within your own company, the resources that may be available in industry organizations, and all of the resources available via the internet. If they know what’s out there, they can add value to the customer by sharing these resources.
Resourcefulness will help them get customers, and more importantly, keep them. It’s not easy to be resourceful but resourceful people make more sales. The resourcefulness superpower comes with continuous learning, being well connected, being a great listener, watching the internet for useful information and learning to use resources.
Salespeople need to be well connected. They need to build strong relationships with their connections so they can leverage them. It’s useless to have thousands of connections on LinkedIn and thousands of followers on Twitter if they aren’t real relationships.
Well-connected salespeople cut down on the need to cold call because they can ask for an introduction. Connectivity also allows them to connect their customers and prospects to valuable resources they may need.
A connected salesperson is worth their weight in gold. They need to be nice, be genuine, be helpful, then people will want to connect with them. They should be seen as someone who will help. They can get connected and stay in touch with people using social platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Have each of your salespeople make a plan. They can figure out how to make deeper connections with the people you already know so they can leverage those relationships to get introductions. The connectivity superpower requires that salespeople continually meet people and develop mutually beneficial relationships.
Salespeople need to be fearless. This may sound silly, but more than ever, fearlessness is a must. People tend to think that salespeople are naturally fearless and used to rejection. The truth is salespeople are not fearless when it comes to asking hard questions and gathering information. They are not fearless when it comes to finding all of the people involved in the sale. The secret to fearlessness is great preparation. When your salespeople are knowledgeable, have planned, and practiced, they have the confidence to be fearless.
Get your salespeople to stop worrying about rejection. If they believe they can’t get something before they even ask for it, they won’t. They must ask! What’s the worst that can happen? The fearlessness superpower only comes with the hard work of becoming an expert. Help them acquire the business acumen needed to have higher-level conversations where they fearlessly bring insights to the buying team. Plan, practice, and execute extraordinarily.
Which of These Superpowers Do Your Salespeople Possess?
Which do you wish they had? Make a plan to help them exercise the superpowers they have and acquire the ones needed.