In a recent Forbes article on the 10 trends that will drive business success in 2017, subject matter experts (SMEs) topped the list of what will grow revenue for B2B companies.
Seems obvious, doesn’t it? We all know a few great sales people who can go beyond just schlepping a product—people who work hard to understand customers’ pains and problems, and can align product and service solutions to address them. Of course, our challenge as sales and marketing leaders is that only about 20% of sales people have been in the industry long enough and intuitively get how to demonstrate subject matter expertise.
Imagine what could happen if your other 80% could solve customer problems like your top performers do. How would that change the game? How would it affect your ability to achieve results? In The Challenger Sale, the authors point out that 53% of customer loyalty is a result not of what you sell, but how you sell. Marketers can bring tremendous value to their organizations simply by equipping their sales team with tools that empower them to sell more consultatively.
Even well-trained sales organizations can have trouble selling from a position of purpose, because:
- They lack the confidence to sell beyond price.
Almost every B2B sale involves multiple decision makers. Yet companies commonly lament their sales relationships are predominantly price-driven and with procurement. Packaging your company’s market knowledge, competitive intelligence and customer insight into solution-based selling tools can help sales align your solutions to the pain points of different decision makers in the buying process.
- They come to sales presentations unprepared.
Customers look to suppliers to challenge their thinking and teach them something they don’t know. Challengers win by teaching customers about a problem they didn’t even know they had. Does your sales force merely tout your capabilities? If so, you need more effective tools to guide customer conversations around the real-world problems you can solve better than your competitors.
- They can’t answer questions on the spot.
Yes, robust training programs are important, but research by Neil Rackham has shown that sales reps forget 87% of sales training content within 30 days. They need tools that put subject matter knowledge at their fingertips. Armed with such information, they can close the sale faster, instead of saying, “I’ll get back to you on that.”
Learn more about how our Intuvio™ platform can help your sales people strengthen their subject matter expertise and drive more strategic customer conversations.