Why You Should Be Selling ‘Business Solutions,’ Not Technology Systems
Senior management will more likely buy from those that know more about their business AND how to deliver business value than from those that only sell products.
Senior management doesn’t buy video systems, access systems or alarm systems. They do buy improved quality control, risk reduction, better customer service and team-work between departments to make or save money. They buy business solutions.
What is your team really selling today, and more importantly, to whom? Don’t know? Then I suggest you roll up your sleeves and find out sooner than later. Need some places to start your journey toward selling business solutions? Here you go.
- Do your homework and dig into the sales data to understand whom the sales team is working with and what they are selling. Something to think about — are they selling security products, lowest price or business solutions?
- Look at both the quantity and quality of the customers they sell to every day. Do they have more than one contact name at an opportunity? Do they work with one or multiple departments? What is the most senior title they work with selling to customers?
- Take a hike. Well, actually take a ride. Go along with different salespeople to validate your homework on the raw data. Observe how they position your company, manage the sales opportunity and qualify the prospect. Keep your thoughts to yourself for now. Observe only and ask questions about their most frequent selling challenges. Don’t give much advance notice, otherwise you will end up with a customer lovefest meeting and not gritty street reality.
- Middle management typically buys products (no disrespect; simply an observable fact). If you talk product too early, you can rarely get back to the business solutions dialogue. They will often lead a well-intentioned salesperson down the thorny path of product commoditization before they know what happened.
- Senior management looks for business solutions — that’s what they get paid to do — that deliver business results. They could give a darn about the specific enabling technologies that deliver that value; that’s our job to figure out.
Hurdles Include Honest Communication & Evaluation
Selling business value is all about changing the sales dialogue, moving away from that early product talk. That’s not an easy, but very necessary, selling skill. What challenges should you expect to face in that journey?
Clarity of your expectations. We frequently coach our owner/clients on this key communication step. Be concise, concrete and paint a picture. Test it a week later to see if it stuck. This will help manage tactical execution of a new direction.
Know the strengths and opportunities for improvement for your sales team. Objectively evaluate their current team’s skills, attitudes, business acumen skills and active learning aptitude. Are they able to climb the mountain of your vision? Some can, and some will not be able to make the climb to the new summit of selling business solutions.
Don’t upset the current revenue generation process along the journey. You must keep the lights on and meet payroll obligations, so a sales migration plan must be planned over time. This can often take years to accomplish. Pick a good Sherpa as you prepare to climb that mountain!
Shift to Solutions Selling May Involve Culture Clash
We were recently engaged to help a client train its global sales team to transition from a traditional technical product, speed-and-feeds sales approach to one based on selling business solutions to create pull-through demand with end users into its channel.
While the situation was challenging in addressing different cultures, we arrived together at a conclusion after two days of intense classroom work. Selling business solutions is very different; it can pay some big dividends for channel partners and sales goals, and for those who use their products.
It is a skillset that can be learned and honed over time.Status quo is great in business when everything stays the same. Unfortunately, we don’t live on that planet. So the real question is, when do you initiate a more strategic plan, invest in the right training, and aggressively coach expectations?
I suggest sooner than later if you want your business to keep pace with the realities of our industry. Specifically, cybersecurity represents growth opportunities for RMR and MSP revenue. The sales dialogue will need to shift to sell the business value of these services. This requires a business solution-based approach and not a product/price focus to succeed.
I’ll leave you with a final thought: Senior management will more likely buy from those that know more about their business AND how to deliver business value than from those that only sell products. If you get stuck, drop us an email and we’ll share some guidelines that work.
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