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“Would customers be willing to pay for your sales call?” – Neil Rackham and how leading B2B sales forces create value

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Would customers be willing to write you a check for your sales call?

The world’s leading sales expert, Neil Rackham, challenged over 750 sales leaders during his keynote speech at The Sales Conference. On the 18th of November 2014, we had the opportunity to listen to the professor of professional selling, sharing valuable insights about how leading B2B sales forces create value in the new world of B2B sales.

For those of you interested in gaining more insights on what leading B2B sales forces are doing in today’s hyper-competitive world, you can download Neil Rackham’s keynote speech via the following link. Below, you can read an executive summary; here are four things to remember.

1. Products and services are becoming less unique

There is a clear shift in the marketplace, whereby buyers perceive products and services as more or less the same. Corporate strategies have not been able to win the battle against stronger market forces, which commoditize products and services. Or as results from a recent survey revealed, 76% of B2B salespeople believed that “customers treated them more as a commodity than three years earlier”.

2. Selling is value creation, not value communication

In the new world of B2B sales – with global competition and undifferentiated products and services – the role of sales is to add value beyond products and services. Instead of communicating value, salespeople need to create value during the sales process. In other words: selling is value creation, not value communication.

Only value creating salespeople will survive in today’s hyper-competitive world.

3. To create value, help customers anticipate future problems

So, what can salespeople do to create value during the sales process? Based on a study of 1,100 buyers, Neil Rackham found that buyers perceived that salespeople created value when they followed these four principles:

  • Helped customers anticipate future problems, not just current problems.
  • Created customized solutions to customers’ problems.
  • Made sure that customers’ voices were heard inside their organizations.
  • Kept customers up-to-date with industry trends and competitor moves.

4. To win complex sales, focus on fewer opportunities

At last, Neil Rackham shared a new perspective on how leading B2B companies effectively allocate sales resources to win opportunities. In his view, there are two strategies available to win sales in a cost-effective manner; the best alternative depends on the nature of the funnel. The most cost-effective strategy for sales organizations with low-price but high-volume deals (i.e., traditional sales), is to fill the top of the funnel with as many opportunities as possible.

On the other hand, organizations with few but big deals (i.e., complex sales), gain by focusing on fewer opportunities. To effectively win complex sales, Neil Rackham recommends to create an opportunity-resourcing model and to introduce an opportunity-review process. The key in complex sales is to over-resource opportunities, where you both can and want to win.

Do you want to access the entire presentation? As was mentioned above, you can download Neil Rackham’s keynote speech via the following linkThe Sales Conference is northern Europe’s leading conference about successful B2B sales.

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