We have come across a time nowadays when e-commerce websites and paid searches can compete with human sales reps on conversion metrics and for that traditional sales roles in modern times are taking a hit.
Now Forrester Research predicted in 2017 that 1 million salespeople would be out of a job this year, and looking into the recent rise of COVID-19 cases and the potential of lengthy shutdowns, this number has little chance of improving, which is ushering in the shift to digital even faster than we expected.
Hence sales reps who have evolved to an accelerator approach in this virtual-first landscape will have the advantage and keep their job.
Now the term “accelerator sellers” are those sales reps who can deliver value by providing important solution-related information- that is not available online.
In other words, these sellers in this virtual-first world use their empathy and business acumen to make value ‘personal’ for the buyers of their products and service.
Therefore, because these sellers are capable of offering the expertise and knowledge that their prospects lack, these sellers are able to truly impact a B2B customer’s business results.
Why Accelerator Selling Outpaces Other Methodologies
During the financial crisis that happened in 2007-2009, there is a major shift that occurred in the buying behavior of B2B consumers.
This shift in behavior shows that while previously both the purchasers and sellers had focused on specific solutions and products they provided, during that recession customers changed their tunes.
They became more willing to pay a premium and purchase- but only if the seller could really accelerate the achievement of their desired business results.
For this, the buying cycle also got changed and became even more unpredictable.
Even though businesses strived for agility, they became slower to make purchasing decisions. This is because when there are several stakeholders with competing requirements and changes in corporate priorities, the pace of business seemed to speed up every day, yet the deluge of information and evolving objects made it increasingly difficult for buyers to arrive at a decision quickly.
Now in the present times with the economic uncertainty posed by this COVID-19 pandemic, it is even more critical for buyers to invest wisely for solutions that are specifically tailored to their circumstances and goals.
This is the most important reason as to why solution selling is not just enough to reach the customers nowadays.
Instead, in the B2B landscape customers seek out sales reps who focus on overall business results. And so, our researches show that consumers would really be willing to buy more (and even at a greater price) if sales reps could support their sales pitch with their customer’s business outcomes.
Hence, salespeople who demonstrated an understanding of their customer’s business priorities, goals, and challenges are more successful in selling whereby in-market key performance indicators show a clear link between sales results and the customer’s commercial success.
However, the question that still remains to be answered is how sales can execute accelerator selling in this new virtual font posed by the recent COVID-19 pandemic?
Three Business Growth Ideas To Build Accelerator Selling in a Virtual Landscape
As one of the most popular vendors of Salesforce Alternative CRM software platform, we have observed that the top three behaviors that customers want to view from sellers all reveal an accelerator-based refined approach juxtaposing the customers’ business goals rather than just a solution approach (short-term fixes).
Hence customers’ needs sellers in the present times who can embody these traits while quickly adapting to the B2B virtual selling landscape which includes:
1. A show of enhanced understanding of the customer’s business goals, priorities, challenges, and opportunities, since there is nothing more that can turn off a prospective customer faster than sellers who have not done their homework.
This is because any B2B customer spending their valuable time listening to a pitch for assenting whether a product or service would be a good fit for their company, would never like to face an unprepared seller. Rather they would appreciate sellers asking smart, and business-focused questions and reps that speak the prospect’s language which demonstrates that both the seller and the customer are working from the same side of the table.
Now more so critical in virtual interaction, where creating dialogue that can foster high-impact can be more difficult and so acceleratory sellers need to be more efficient not only at understanding their prospective customer’s business results during their virtual engagements but also tailor their sales pitches accordingly.
2. Accelerator sellers must also maintain an appropriate sense of urgency, and show the customers that their business goals are the seller’s top priority, especially in the midst of an economic downturn as we are facing now.
This is because if the sellers do not share that sense of earnestness about resolving those goals of the prospective customer, the prospect might not feel that the seller is actually investing in their mission. Hence accelerator sellers in the B2B landscape need to speed up their discovery time, demonstrate their work by aligning internal stakeholders, and respond to questions raised by the prospective customer within an hour if at all possible.
In addition to this simplifying, their demos and trials will also help to maximize the prospect’s time and make it easier for them to share with their executives.
The main business growth idea over here is that in the digital realm, accelerator sellers must create more frequent, stress-free, and targeted virtual touchpoints, so that prospective customers feel closer to the sellers, which can help the sellers to meet the needs of the customers in a much more flexible way.
3. Last but not least sellers in the present B2B digital landscape must demonstrate a clear understanding of the marketplace dynamics as every customer has a slightly different position in the market.
We say this as one of the leading vendors of easy to use CRM tools, as we have observed that sellers should never assume that just because they have sold to a similar company, the new prospect in their pipeline share the same market position as they found in a customer before.
Hence, to help their customers succeed sellers need the right business acumen to understand all the resources that the prospective customer’s company is offering, which also includes the prospect’s financial target, strategic initiatives, and even the customer’s customers.
As a solution without knowledge in the B2B landscape is one that customer can easily pass up, hence focusing on the behaviors mentioned above will not only better equip the sales teams to close the value gap with their prospects but make the new prospects in their sales pipeline share the same market position as they have found in a customer before.