The “moment of truth” for B2B sales reps selling a complex solution involving multiple stakeholders is the time they spend presenting and interacting with prospects and customers. An Aberdeen Group study revealed the top resource request by 52% of B2B sales reps was “Improve differentiation in messaging and sales presentations to tell a better, unique story.”
In today’s digital environment, senior buyers and key recommenders are more knowledgeable about vendor offerings, so they only accept meetings with sales reps they believe will add value to their evaluation process. According to CEB,“77% of B2B purchasers say they won’t even speak to a salesperson until they’ve done their own research.” So sales reps must win the initial customer meeting by showing competitive differentiation to remain in the sales process. It’s that simple.
Sales and marketing leaders are accountable to provide sales reps the content, messaging and tools that clearly demonstrate the Value their solution provides customers early in the sales process. Senior buyers want your reps to answer the question,“What do you do for your customers?” in the first meeting. Yet a majority of reps still present 30+ PowerPoint slides about their company and products, or, even worse, reps expect attendees to answer a series of questions about pain points, evaluation criteria, budget approval, metrics, and “What keeps you up at night?!”. Why this behavior from reps? Because field and inside sales reps do not have the right messaging for the right audience at the right time of the sales cycle. The customer gives these reps a failing grade and potential sales opportunities that are perfect for your solution are lost on the very first (and likely the last) sales call for this opportunity.
A vast majority of B2B companies I come across have outstanding pre-sales technical and market expertise that effectively collaborate with customers entering the sales process. Sales leaders know the more qualified sales opportunities assigned to pre-sales professionals, the higher probability above-plan revenue results will be achieved. Conversely, non-qualified sales opportunities transitioned to pre-sales are costly, take away valuable resources from qualified opportunities and stagnate in CRM before ending in “no decision”.
Value Propositions published by marketing and presented by reps early in the sales process is the #1 way sales and marketing leaders can help sales reps grow top-line revenue. Visualize all your “middle reps” (comprising 80% of the salesforce) targeting new accounts and selected customers, increasing qualified deals by:
- Proactively addressing the question, “What do we do for our customers?” via a typical value proposition for customers in your industry
- Showing ROI and TCO results based on specific business drivers for their industry in metric table and graphical formats
- Identifying the data assumptions used in the typical value proposition with the ability to change these assumptions that resonate closer to the buyer’s situation
- Consistently delivering the right collateral and messaging to new customers regarding the customer value proposition
- Gaining a competitive edge by qualifying the sales opportunity first and moving to the “next step” jointly with the customer
Increasing qualified sales opportunities entering the pipeline on a consistent basis closes more deals by higher quality opportunities working in collaboration with pre-sales professionals, and getting a jump on the competition to shorten sales cycles, lower discounts and increase profitability.