Are you involved with a commodity, or a complex/value sale? How would you know?
- Do your prospects understand the business problem that your offer addresses?
- Do they know what’s required to solve that problem?
If the answer is “yes” to both, you are selling a commodity — or soon to be — offer.
If the answer is yes to the first question, and no to the second, yours is a value added commodity offer.
If the answer is no to both, you’re in a complex/value selling situation.
Why does this matter?
How does your marketing and sales strategy differ if you sell a complex/value offer?
For many companies that require a complex/value selling model, this may be the crux of your new customer acquisition and revenue growth problem.
You’re using a traditional marketing and sales strategy to conduct a value sale.
What’s the difference?
A key premise of the traditional marketing and selling model is, prospects are actively looking for what you sell.
And, if they’re not, you just need to bring their attention to the problem you address. If they were unaware but have the problem, they will become active buyers. If they don’t, they aren’t qualified.
We call this “find opportunity” selling.
Makes sense, right?
Most B2B marketing tactics are about:
- positioning your company and offer in the solution category prospects will consider (brand),
- finding, being found by, and capturing that active “intent” (lead gen).
Today’s B2B sales approach mostly expects marketing — and some kind of “business development team (BDRs) — to generate leads. Sales people qualify or disqualify the lead, work leads to convert to active opportunities, and eventually to a closed sale.
Yes, some degree of sales prospecting is (nominally) expected. Most sales leaders view this as an inefficient and ineffective tactic. Seldom are reps hired for this competency, trained and supported, and compensated accordingly.
Why doesn’t this work for B2B complex or value sales models?
Prospects are not just unaware they have the problem you address. These problems are difficult to see and understand (for many reasons). Often they are new. Executives may not have had previous experience with them.
We call this “create opportunity” selling.
Solutions to complex problems require accurate problem diagnosis. Effective solutions often require new approaches, capabilities and resources.
Self-diagnosis in these situations are notoriously poor, as any good value sales professional can tell you.
Solutions often span functional responsibilities, and require strategy, organizational change, investment, people, process, technology and other factors that exceed the capability of any one function to address.
Why does this matter?
This difference has significant implications for:
- Sales and marketing strategy (go-to-customer vs. go-to-market, to start)
- Hiring, competencies, skills, experience
- Sales program structure and sales support
- Compensation and motivation
- Sales process and customer engagement practices
- Pipeline and account review and management
- And much more, including impact on product management and customer service
What can you do?
This reality requires a mental shift and new approaches in many areas:
- To the reality and implications listed above.
- A more integrated sales and marketing everything (see list above).
- A comprehensive program, rather than series of random and uncoordinated activities across sales reps, sales support resources, and with marketing tactical groups.
- Well-orchestrated execution.
Point fixes simply won’t work here.
Your current reality
You’re actually dealing with a complex/value problem situation. To resolve it, you need a “create opportunity” solution approach.
Unfortunately, most sales and marketing vendors provide point solutions. Yes, you’ll be offered strategy and services (think, “want fries with that?”).
Other than the big consulting firms, few provide a well-defined and comprehensive approach. But you don’t need the investment, turmoil and spotlight of a big consulting initiative to resolve this problem.
You need a comprehensive program and experienced execution support.
If you find these ideas interesting, and you want to learn more, please set a time that’s convenient for you to discuss your specific situation.