Are your Customers Outpacing your Sales Team?


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In this post we will discuss Agile Sales. Agile sales is an approach that can help you keep pace with your customers.

A few months back I wrote a post about becoming an Agile Sales Leader. Now it is time to make the entire sales organization agile. Let’s start with the definition of agile sales.

Agile is not a process! The Agile sales approach places the customer buying experience above everything else. All organizational behaviors and activities are aligned to this effort.

The first step is to understand how to keep pace with your customers. Agile SalesRight now buyer behavior is outpacing sales organizations. This is leading to frustration among many B2B buyers. On the other hand, B2C organizations have been driving this change among consumers. Amazon, Netflix, EBay. Buyers have been trained to expect speed, availability, and a self-directed buying experience. They bring their B2C experiences to their jobs. This leads to friction when B2B sellers don’t match their new buying world.

Now we will look at what agile sales organizations look like. We will contrast them with sales organizations that say, “this is how we have always done it”.

SBI’s 7th annual research session will expand on the agile sales concept. In an increasingly competitive environment, best-in-class sales organizations are looking for an edge. Download this tool to keep pace with your customers by utilizing the agile sales approach.

Key Benefits of the Tool:

  • Keep pace with customer expectations
  • Outpace the competition through customer intimacy
  • Drive daily incremental improvement to Make the Number

What has changed in Agile Sales Organizations?

  1. Talent – industry experience and tenure are not as valuable. Experience can actually be a bad thing. Old habits are hard to break. What your rep did 5 years ago is obsolete.
  1. Agile Sales Talent – reps possess the competencies of the new A player. These competencies show that a sales rep has acquired new capabilities. They have kept up with the market. If they have these skills they are more likely to sell effectively to the new buyer.
  2. Being Outpaced – lead with a product and a price and call it solution selling. Your talent is utilizing yesterday methods to influence today’s buyer.
  • More selling is done virtually – buyers are making decision without a rep in the room. This is true whether your organization is comprised mainly of outside or inside sales. Buyers rely on content, peers, and social media to educate themselves. Because of this fact, your team needs to be experts in selling when they aren’t present.
    1. Agile Sales – embrace the agile movement. They are increasing the size of their centralized inside sales force. They are also embracing the fact that outside resources spend most of their time inside. These decentralized sales people are being enabled versus pushed into the field.
    2. Being Outpaced – keep telling outside reps they need to do X amount of F2F sales calls per week.
  • The use of technology, social, mobile – this one is the most obvious. I still see sales reps using paper daily planners. On the other hand, organizations are using voice recognition software. Sales people can dictate notes after a sales call and it is automatically saved to CRM.
    1. Agile Sales – mobile enabled CRM. Social selling is the norm. Tablets are more prevalent than PCs. Utilize voice recognition software.
    2. Being Outpaced – CRM is purely a micro-management tool. Computer work is completed in the office. Still cold calling via the phone or knocking on doors.
  • Sellers facilitate vs. closing – buyers are more educated and make a decision to buy. Selling tactics have less influence on a buyer’s decision. They have been exposed to all the common tactics and are turned off by them.
    1. Agile Sales – sellers know where buyers are on their journey. They answer the buyer’s questions through a multiple channel approach. Top tier sellers are doing more selling without talking about their product or solution. They use content, social, peers, and use cases to influence buyers.
    2. Being Outpaced – trying to hard sell buyers. Still focused on reaching a decision maker and handling objections. Must close the deal.
  • Decision making speed – as we discussed earlier, customers will no longer tolerate a slow approval processes. Ease of doing business is more important than ever.
    1. Agile Sales – approval requirements are clear and pushed closer to the customer. Approval needs from management are prioritized and executed quickly.
    2. Being Outpaced – massive hierarchy of approvals required. Multiple departments can stifle deal flow.
  • Iteration – everything in the sales force is constantly being upgraded. Improvements in process and technology come from field feedback. Tools like Chatter allow for rapid broadcasting of wins and losses. Testing of new ideas is commonplace. Nothing is every final, it is just a new iteration.
    1. Agile Sales – buyer driven sales process. Personas updated real time. Buyer process maps built and updated based on direct interactions with buyers.
    2. Being Outpaced – using a sales process from the 80s. (i.e. – Miller Heiman, SPIN, Solution Selling)

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    Republished with author's permission from original post.

    Scott Gruher
    Scott has extensive experience helping B2B Sales and Marketing Leaders Make the Number. Gruher has helped companies such as Yahoo, GXS, Ryder Systems, Conoco Phillips, Expeditors International, Genesys Telocommunications and Caliber Collision Centers accelerate their growth by leveraging the benchmarking method.


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