Glyn Yates is Principle Consultant, GTM International. In this monthly column for Intelligent Tech Channels, he shares his expertise and views on the channel and partner community.
There has been a shift, we all agree, in buyer behaviour and sentiment, with greater focus on value, operational efficiency and cost control being at the forefront. Vendors and partners have had to reflect on how they operate and make necessary change, and COVID, while awful, has given us the time to do so. Those that drive change will flourish, those that don’t change will find times increasingly difficult.
We now need to re-assess the ‘new’ customer – who may be the same people as before, in the same roles, but as customers, they will have different behaviour and priorities now. So, if we understand our customer has changed, then we must determine sales strategies must change too – and salesmanship must be elevated to a higher level… focused on aligning to the ‘new’ customer needs.
I do believe that relationships are important in the sales process, but I am absolutely certain that relationships should only be one factor, with wider salesmanship excellence being the primary goal of any salesman – establishing business needs, building value, supporting stakeholder professional and personal goals and focusing on enhancing real tangible value.
Here’s the thing. There has always been too strong a reliance throughout the region and a celebration of relationships as the only key needed to unlock a door – but that creates a HUGE elephant in the room… what if your competitor has a better, deeper, stronger relationship than you! Do you walk or do you find a way to create greater value?
By looking at the channel, this is easily understandable, there are few sales trainings conducted and of the training that is provided it is focused on technology feature and functionality suites driven by vendors, supplemented by speed/feed ‘battlecards’ and competitive mudslinging.
Without value development, the customer decision making tends to be left to feature versus price comparisons between competing technologies – value disappears, margins are eroded as discounts skyrocket, closing ratios worsen, forecasting becomes more hope than science and value-based loyalty of the customer disappears.
So, what can be done – as a salesperson, invest in yourself. Understand sales skills, read, try, fail, try again, develop and understand more complete salesmanship – all the things around the actual sales process that a salesman needs. Make yourself imminently more valuable, more successful and more employable.
As a channel partner, take the time to invest in your sales people – it is no coincidence that of all the monies spent on your sales team, sales training has the greatest ROI and companies committed to constant develop of sales teams see a high multiple return.
In today’s uber competitive market you need to be as equipped as possible to survive and thrive.
I have walked many roads and worn many hats and, although my experience and expertise can be valuable, my outlook on the world at large is my own and does not necessarily represent that of ITC.
This blog was published by Intelligent Tech Channels.