One of the paradoxes of sales performance today is that the customer expects the sales person to have in-depth understanding of their unique business, and they also expect immediate response. So just how does a sales rep meet this challenge – they must do a lot more work upfront of the first sales meeting. This often means a combination of online research, data from sales intelligence services, input from industry or functional experts relating to the prospects business and engaging in presales informational meetings with those below the level of decision making. The old step of pre-qualification filtering has now extended into quite an extensive information gathering exercise, often carried out by sales op support teams.
The key is in making this information reusable by multiple parts of the business, hence increasing the return on time invested in gathering it. It must also be available in the format most suited to various business users.
But information sharing isn’t just a one way event. Also now critical in selling more complex solutions, such as software products, is sharing information with the customer before the solution presentation stage of the sales cycle. This is not information about your product. It’s information about how to use a product such as yours in the customers company and what benefits will result. Customers have ready access to information online as to the different technologies available, but the real information that makes the difference is in how the solution can be used in their business. Most business decision makers are faced with rigorous business case requirements for sign off of most technology solutions, and seek greater understanding of how they can increase they can gain wider business support and demonstrate a short payback period and higher return on investment. They often have limited insight into how to apply a solution such as yours across the various parts of the business, so help them by providing access to seminars, webinars, videos, audio, articles and blogs – informational media that will build the value proposition in their minds and help them gain widespread business support to buy your product. These events are both educational and promotional rather than highly product focused selling events. Consider them edumotional.
Rather than helping your customer climb over the many barriers to closing a sale, help them remove the barriers instead. If you want a detailed insight into how to use edumotional selling, watch out for the release of my next book which focuses on analytics and information based selling.