As we’ve discussed in previous posts, overcoming the status quo is a central challenge for sales professionals. Part of this problem stems from diffused decision-making across an increasing number of stakeholders. Additionally, as competition rises, businesses need greater assurance of the ROI of a proposed solution. The barriers are significant. Overcoming them requires a strong start. Effective sellers do so by leveraging referrals.
Optimism runs high in American businesses. In fact, optimism among small businesses at the end of 2017 surged to their highest levels in more than 34 years. This sentiment is shared among mid-sized companies as well. A staggering 80 percent of those surveyed said they were optimistic, a 39 percent increase over 2016.
Excellence in Team Selling is critical to success for commercial selling organizations today. Customers bring more stakeholders to the table and expect to meet more than just the salesperson before making a commitment. To manage these moments effectively, salespeople need to ensure that all players are operating at peak performance – individually and as a unit- in those high-stakes meetings.
What happened to competitive advantage? There was a time when each business had one. Some had many. However, today, that seems to be disappearing. In 2009 The Harvard Business Review called competitive advantage “fleeting,” and less than six years later Wired called it “dead.” However, the disappearance of competitive advantages is motivating businesses to take a bold, innovative approach.
Information is more available today than ever before. However, if this is the case, why are sales professionals experiencing increasing difficulty when it comes to uncovering the buyer’s decision-making process.
Here’s the answer:
Increasingly complex business needs are outpacing the sales professional’s capacity for determining decision processes. These multifaceted problems involve a growing number of stakeholders. Moreover, these challenges change fast as competitive pressures rise. This “enterprise entropy” is characterized by a central challenge that becomes diffused across an organization as more people weigh in on how to move forward.
During the tech boom of the 1990s Fortune 500 companies and behemoths of Silicone Valley were famous for challenging interviewees with puzzle questions. The candidate might be faced with a brain teaser like “how many times a day do a clock’s hands overlap,” or, “why are manhole covers round?” The most infamous of these questions was “how would you move Mount Fuji?”
More businesses today are moving to SaaS. Implementation is fast, systems are agile, and updates are less burdensome. Therefore, it’s no surprise that “SaaS is expected to grow sharply to nearly one-quarter (23%) of all enterprise workloads by mid-2018,” according to 451 Research. Effective SaaS sales professionals are learning to adjust to these changes.
The complexity surrounding SaaS sales and software buying decisions is increasing. The reason: traditional software models based on one-time, upfront licensing fees have evolved to SaaS cloud solutions. Now, pricing is pay-as-you-go. Therefore, buyers expect value that extends beyond the closing of the sale. This change in the software market means that professionals selling the cloud need to redesign their approach to buyers. However, the buyers are also changing.