How Savvy Sales Pros Avoid the Buyers Beauty Parade
Buyers Beauty Parade
When prospecting for new business many sales people are unsure who they should contact first within any organization they are targeting. Many sales people make the mistake of calling the buyers of solutions within an organization – these buyers may be official buyers who work in a purchasing department or people who own the solution such as a Chief Technology Officer but either way they end up in a buyers beauty parade. For example, IT companies selling Cloud Technologies will predominantly contact the prospects Head of IT. Cloud Technology however, is only a tool that facilitates increased productivity, increased collaboration, increased user experience and lowers operational costs, to name but a few. An alternative approach our clients have found to be more productive, would be to contact the owners of these problems, such as for productivity the VP of Operations, for reducing costs the VP of Finance and here’s why this works.
When we call on the Buyers, we are more often than not calling on people who are at the end of the customers’ decision making process. Buyers may be involved all the way through the decision making process, but frequently they are not. Finding and calling on any Buyer at the exact time they are in the market for your Solution is not easy. If we are lucky enough to call on the Buyer at the exact time they are in buying mode, we have another problem. As we are talking with these Buyers at the end of their buying process they are often then, only facilitating the “Supplier Beauty Parade”. At this point the Solution has already been chosen but the supplier has not, and the danger is we end up competing on price not value.
Who to Call
An alternative to calling on Buyers would be to call on the people who “Own the Problems” you solve. If we call on the Owners of the Problems, we are talking with people who have a vested interest in eliminating the problem. Different people in an organisation have different priorities and Buyers often can have very different priorities to the Owners of Problems. Problem Owners are motivated by finding the best solution not the best price. Talking with Problem Owners allows us to position ourselves as Thought Leaders, demonstrate our expertise and Domain Knowledge. Most importantly it allows us to enter the customers buying process at the very beginning and help them shape the final solution. We may well still have to enter a beauty parade with our competitors at the end of the buying process, but this way WE have set the rules for the Beauty Parade and WE have worked with the Judges to help them decide who the winner should be.
According to Forrester 75% of the Buying process takes place before the customer engages with your sales people and 67% of this takes place online. Therefore in addition to calling on who owns the problems you solve, all your messaging and marketing materials should be directed at the Owners of the problems you solve. Websites, Blogs, Webinars, Seminars, Sales Collateral, Linkedin Profiles, even your Tweets should be targeting the Owners of the Problems you solve. Catching their attention is the first step to success not price driven buyers who often do not understand the problems you solve and will for sure place you in a buyers beauty parade which is typically price driven and time consuming with a reduced chance of success.
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