Category Archives: Solution Selling
Maintaining the Sales Machine
In their November 2013 Harvard Business Review article Dismantling the Sales Machine Brent Adamson, Matthew Dixon, and Nicholas Toman of the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) assert that “Leaders must abandon their fixation on (sales) process compliance.” In place of “disciplined sales process” they favor a flexible approach to sales in which salespeople rely on their own insight and judgment. That they find sales process discipline and a sales force capable of insight and judgment incompatible seems untenable.
How to Update Sales Talent Profiles without Tanking Your Business
Tinkering with your profile of a successful sales rep is risky business, but what can you do when you know the talent that got you where you are today won’t get you where you need to go in the future? For example, maybe you need to transition from a product to a solution-led sale, manage accounts more strategically, or take a more assertive insight-led sales approach. Your business is constantly changing, and you probably have good reason to redefine the attributes of your future top performer. How can you make this transition to minimize risk and disruption?
Dear Challenger: Sincerely yours, Willy Loman
In their article, The End of the Solution Sale, Matthew Dixon, Brent Adamson, and Nicholas Toman explain that there is no longer a need for salespeople to uncover customers’ needs because customers define solutions for themselves. They propose that salespeople “altogether change how they sell;” for example, deliver a teaching pitch that enlightens customers and tells them what they need and what they should do. The authors assure us with their research that this is how the new breed of successful salespeople win.
In our work with leading sales organizations, we have certainly seen a change in the buying landscape. Today’s buyers are more sophisticated, have more data available, and often have already defined a solution before ever involving a salesperson. This has created a real challenge for sales organizations and reps. Techniques and methodologies that worked twenty years ago do not necessarily work now. As buyers change, sellers too must change — but how?