We love Steve Martin! No not THAT Steve Martin (although we quite like him too) but Steve W. Martin who teaches sales strategy at the University of Southern California (USC), Marshall School of Business.
Having bemoaned the lack of curriculum time spent teaching students across the globe about sales it’s great to find an utterly dedicated pedagogue of the sales persuasion.
Based on his experience of studying some of the world’s best sales organisations he’s developed a list of the top business-to-business sales trends for 2013.
Whilst all ten make interesting reading and cover ground such as ‘sales force behaviour modelling’, ‘win-loss analysis studies’, ‘sales force verticalization’, ‘intelligent territory management’ and ‘technology fatigue’; there’s 5 crackers we at Broadley Speaking have been banging on about ourselves for quite some time now (see past blog posts)
“1. Emphasis on Language-Based Interactions
While proponents of the consultative, relationship, and challenger-based sales approaches will continue to argue the merits of their respective philosophies, there is one thing everyone can agree on. For 2013, it’s not only what you say, but equally important, how you say it. Sales linguistics is the new field of study about how customers and salespeople use and interpret language during the decision making process. If you are in sales, you make your living by talking. You need to study language and perfect your use of words because your most important competitive weapon is your mouth.”
We couldn’t agree more Steve! During our PMTA process with clients we spend an inordinate amount of time crafting a re-crafting appropriate vocabulary. The aim is to provide thought provoking interactions with our clients prospects. Quite often clients have used the same words and phrases to describe their products and services and the problems they resolve for years
2.“Sales Process Ineffectiveness.
Many companies have realized that their sales didn’t increase even after spending a great deal of money and effort implementing a sales process methodology. The reason for this is because the “black hole” of the sales process is what happens during and after sales calls. Today more than ever, it’s the personal interactions with prospective customers that determines winners from losers, not the internal processes of the sales organization. In 2013 more companies will be studying and categorizing these customer interactions so they can improve sales force effectiveness.”
Got get ’em Steve! We picked up 3 major accounts in 2012 all from recommendations and all who had previously used ‘regular’ telemarketing businesses. Why had they picked them initially? They had all been seduced by a load of baloney about the virtues of their “internal processes”. Computers to do this, machines to do that, branched scripts, call volumes, conversion ratios……all great stuff (not!)… except that it ignores the fact that you should be looking for well crafted, unscripted, professional, structured, sales calls made by well trained sales professionals who are properly rewarded and professionally managed. It is the people making the personal interactions you should be buying, they are THE premium product – the systems should be a given, they will not be the influencing factor on any sale. It doesn’t happen very often but we do have potential clients who come to our offices and don’t want to meet the team – what !?
3. “Organizational Buying Psychology
If you are involved in selling enterprise solutions, you already know the importance of understanding the inner workings of the various departments within the prospective customer’s company. Your solution might be purchased by the information technology department and used by accounting and human resources. Therefore, it’s critical to map out the interrelationships of the departments within an organization. The essence of successful enterprise sales is understanding not only who to sell to, but how to craft a message that appeals to various departmental constituents. Understanding organizational buying psychology becomes an even more critical topic in 2013.”
Spot on again Steve! We spend a great deal of our time selling “enterprise solutions” ( for Compass. iPass, TXT Maple Lake, Syngro, Silcotec to name just a few). It is an absolutely fundamental part of our work with them to map out the complex buying and specifying groups across the whole organisation and then craft individual and differing messages aimed at the different groups.
4. No Decision as the Main Competitor
For sales forces involved with large capital expenditure sales cycles, never before has the mantra “Call High or Die” been so true. Salespeople must reach C-level executive decision makers early in the sales process because the default for organizations today is to maintain the status quo and delay every major purchase.
Regular readers of this blog will also have read previous articles about overcoming inertia in the sales process (if not – you can read about it here). You may also have seen previous hot topic discussions in different forums with the rather rabid promoters of social media as the new marketing nirvana (and their arguments are not without some worth) but we couldn’t agree with Steve more. If you want to reach serious decision makers and seriously try and influence their buying decisions you need to do so well before they reach for the return key and plug in a search term into Google. You need to reach them before they start drafting a tender document. You need to help them establish a need before they know they have one! Most people we instigate a conversation with about large capital expenditure projects don’t know they have a need before we call them and this is exactly the time to catch them.
And lastly and by no means least………………
5. “ Continued Migration from Field to Phone
One final trend that bears mentioning is the accelerated move from field-based sales to phone-based sales. Many companies have quickly transitioned the majority of their field reps to be almost exclusively phone based. Therefore, these reps must now be able to create winning relationships with their voices as opposed to how they sold in the past with their physical presence. Understanding and mastering the art of persuasion will become even more important for all salespeople in 2013.”
Right on Steve! You’re the man! (as they no doubt say in Southern California).Since 1983,the principals of Broadley Speaking have been using the telephone as THE tool to make and enable large ticket item sales. (the term telemarketing” didn’t even exist then!).If used skilfully by intelligent, well trained, experienced adults it still remains the most productive way to generate great new business-to-business sales.
Come and listen to the art of persuasion in action – our clients do.
Come and meet the team and hear the art of persuasion in action. Call us on 0800 988 7253 and we will welcome you with open arms.
If you want to understand more about Steve’s thinking his new book is titled “Heavy Hitter Sales Linguistics: 101 Advanced Sales Call Strategies for Senior Salespeople”. It’s a right riveting read!