Across industries, we’re witnessing B2B sales becoming increasingly complex – involving more decision makers, buying committees, longer sales cycles, vendor consolidation initiatives, and cost reduction programs.
With these changes to the customers’ buying process, sales reps often must shift from being a lone wolf to a captain of a team. The sales team could consist of internal technical specialists from a variety of areas to external alliance partners. This requires adding an additional skill to a salesperson’s repertoire – business collaboration.
Two points about business collaboration:
- First, business collaboration isn’t about bringing people into a room, asking what they think and then doing what you were going to do in the first place. It’s about opening up the conversation and being able and willing to analyze and create new ideas for moving forward. The larger the team the more difficult it is making the necessary tradeoffs and building a better path forward. And that’s exactly the challenge many salespeople face when managing a sales team involved in today’s markets.
- Second, business collaboration isn’t just polling what everyone suggests. Success is seldom achieved by the salespeople giving up control to what the majority wants or by arriving at some vanilla answer. It’s a deliberate problem solving challenge and involves engaging people in a genuine manner but still remaining customer-focused. It requires in-depth knowledge of the customer and a comprehensive understanding of the value proposition of the total capabilities of your company and alliance partners.
And in response to the naysayers who say that collaboration takes too long in today’s fast-paced environment or that it is an easy skill set to master so no big deal or that the trends in the buying process are short-term and soon things will return to “normal” – just pause and review the winners and losers that have emerged historically when industries have gone through a transformation change.
If you found this post helpful, you might want to join the conversation and subscribe to the Sales Training Connection.
©2014 Sales Momentum, LLC