It’s no secret that many of today’s buyers are more sophisticated and adept at researching and finding information. In fact, some research has indicated that the buyer has completed as much as 60% of the decision before even speaking to a sales representative. This includes researching the product options, comparison shopping, and itemizing requirements. “Window shopping” and browsing have taken place weeks before, and at this stage, these purchasers know what they need, what it should look like, and how they want it delivered into their environments.
So what does this mean to a sales professional? It means finding the opportunity and “point of entry” in the sales process is critical. He or she should analyze the sales process to uncover at what point the buyer is at in that process. What has the prospect already accomplished, and what is the next step? Anticipating and being prepared for that next step is the point where a sales rep can show his or her value.
This is a new paradigm of selling, with a different set of criteria:
Find the Right Opportunities
To do this he or she should conduct an analysis that is somewhat different from old models. When targeting companies, a sales rep needs to conduct a detailed analysis of the organization and determine the type of value that he or she can bring to the client that they had not considered previously.
Assess General Conditions
Another of the criteria to consider in the prospecting analysis is the general conditions within the company. A company that has more unknowns and is more agile in how they will accomplish their objective in the future may be worth targeting.
Learn the Best Way to Connect
When the rep has identified their contact, he or she should be considering, “What unrecognized need does this customer have?” “What is the best method for making contact?” Over are the days where we only have an option to make a phone call or send an email to connect with a prospective client. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, blogs and other forms of social media all offer opportunities to make an initial connection.
Ascertain Your Unique Value
Sales professionals should be targeting companies with a dedicated analysis to determine the type of value that he or she can bring to the table – value that has not yet been considered. It goes without saying that maintaining a strong relationship with the client is another critical factor but it now goes well beyond the “relationship.”
This evolution in sales requires a shift in the sales rep’s thinking: finding the opportunities, which are unlike the accepted traditional prospecting methods; pinpointing where and when to plug into the client’s buying, process; and finally, understanding the unique value the rep brings to the discussion that he or she can leverage into successful outcomes.