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Successful Sales Secrets for Selling in B2B Security Markets

Business expert Paul Boucherle says sales teams need to speak the same language when it comes to successfully selling business value worldwide.

Many pundits debate the relevancy of professional selling in the B2B security markets. Is it still effective and worth the investment as a career choice? Have the dynamics and buying processes changed in the past 15 years?

Have perspectives changed for both customers and salespeople? Well, yes they have. Enabled by the Internet, product information, product availability and pricing transparency buying and selling has changed forever.

There is good news. The ability to apply innovative solutions through understanding is still a human trait that has not been taken over by the rise of the machines — at least not yet! To provide a sustainable business solution instead of a technology product for value-seeking customers, you must employ knowledge of your market; translation of technology features to actionable measurable results; and, most importantly, understanding the priority of the problem you are helping to solve.

Oh, there is an adage in sales that “people buy from people they like and trust.” I neither like nor trust the Internet with my future success, and especially with my clients’ success. Let’s explore how far these key selling challenges reach in our security world today.

Retraining Sales Team Proves Enlightening

I spent a good deal of my corporate career selling and leading national accounts teams. The needs, risks and rewards of working with the “big dog customers” on sales opportunities are significantly different and more challenging than selling in a territory.

Make one mistake in national accounts, and the ripple effect could be of tsunami proportions. Take that thought and multiply the impact by 5 in the global sales arena. So, do the old-school business value and solution selling principles translate with a global sales force?

In fact, they do — and actually pretty darn well if presented correctly. This year I had an opportunity to re-engage with a long-term client to help them move their technology/product-focused sales teams in a new direction.

This involved not only shifting a veteran team’s selling perspective, but also motivating and engaging them to move in a different direction. First, we designed the training content that would translate well for a global team.

The delivery journey took us to Thailand, London, Dubai/Muscat, California and Philadelphia to train their teams. It was exciting, immersive, insightful and fun. Did the message of selling business value translate to the sales teams from numerous countries in 2017?

If you surveyed the participants and client management — and we did extensively — the answer is a resounding yes! Even with such diverse cultures, buying processes, competition, and languages the common denominator is still determining with whom you choose to work, how you will work with them, how they will treat you, and how much effort you plan to invest to build that long-term relationship.

Translation: you should periodically reassess the value of the business relations you are pursuing and what value you bring to that relationship.

Universal Truths & Challenges Present Themselves

If you are continually badgering a client to get their business and they smile at you but don’t give you a chance to really earn that business, you become the bid/proposal that leverages the end user or systems integrator to get a lower price from their primary supplier. What does this teach you about your business?

Maybe it’s time to address your selling strategies; here are five considerations:

  • There are universal truths in focusing on selling the business value of security
  • Not all customers recognize and weigh business value the same way
  • To win strategically important customers, be prepared to challenge their thinking — respectfully
  • Challenge your sales team to look in the mirror and answer the tough assessment questions
  • Set clear expectations of the type of customers you want, at what profit point, and commit resources to win them away from your competition

Our globe-trotting this year (my business partner and wife Jayne helped deliver on our international training) taught us some key insights about global business, culture, selling, people and relationships. Salespeople all share the same challenges.

There are also obstacles to overcome in recognizing what they can actually control — such as their time, and with whom and how they work — versus things that are out of their immediate control that must be acknowledged, tactically adapted to and managed with innovation.

You really never “close a deal”; you begin relationships. Relationships are globally complex and different, but always have the same result — respect. Never given, only earned.

About the Author

Contact:

Paul C. Boucherle, Certified Protection Professional (CPP) and Certified Sherpa Coach (CSC), is Security Sales & Integration’s “Business Fitness” columnist. A principal of Matterhorn Consulting, he has more than 30 years of diverse security and safety industry experience including UL central station operations, risk-vulnerability assessments, strategic security program design and management of industry convergence challenges. Boucherle has successfully guided top-tier companies in achieving enhanced ROI resulting from improved sales and operational management techniques. He is a charismatic speaker and educator on a wide range of critical topics relating to the security industry of today and an accomplished corporate strategist and marketer whose vision and expertise in business performance have driven notable enterprise growth in the security industry sector.

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