In complex B2B sales, we have to deal with various customer stakeholders who come from different functions, roles, and backgrounds. Their degree of involvement regarding a specific situation is different, and their ideas about how to master the challenge are different across the customer stakeholder community. Now, let’s see what perspective means from a sales professional’s point of view.
Providing perspectives is an engagement and messaging principle that enables the sales professional to create specific customer value at each phase of the customer’s journey and for each buyer role. This principle allows sales professionals to successfully navigate complex customer stakeholder networks.
Providing perspectives works the entire customer’s journey as a main design point. While the core principle of providing perspectives remains the same, the focal points in each phase are different, which evolves the principle to a dynamic level.
Navigating change dynamics to get to a shared vision of future success is the focal point in the customer’s awareness phase
In the customer’s awareness phase, the buyer analyzes a specific situation to understand root causes, impact, and ways to proceed. From doing nothing to buying a product, from service or solution up to postponing the issue to the next fiscal year – everything is possible.
Sales professionals have to be involved early on by providing perspectives with content and value messaging that’s focused on the customer’s specific context (their situation and their desired results and wins; and the impact of doing nothing!), tailored to different buyer roles and their different concepts of how to address the situation. Case studies and success stories that show possible approaches to addressing the situation and achieving their desired results and wins are perfect at this point. The sales professional’s focus is to drive a decision across the customer stakeholder network to change the current state for a better future state – that’s navigating change dynamics! That’s “providing perspective.” Perspectives that are creative, innovative, relevant, and prove how they can achieve the desired goals are valuable and will win buyer mindshare. The client-facing content and the value messages in this phase have to connect the dots between the customer’s context and the stakeholders’ different concepts. This is not the phase for product pitches.
Navigating decision dynamics to provide the customer’s best buying vision is the focal point in the buying phase
The customer’s decision to change the current state is the prerequisite to enter the actual buying phase. New customer stakeholders get involved; others may step back. Large projects are now often delegated to a project leader. This phase is much more competitive than the previous one. Buyers want to make their best decision to achieve both, their desired organizational results and their desired individual wins. Those sales professionals who were successfully involved in the awareness phase (which means they have won the customer’s mindshare) are in a much better position to win the buying phase. Value messaging is now more product- and solution-specific and contains competitive elements, but is always connected to the customer’s desired results and wins, based on the foundation that has been built in the awareness phase. A phased approach for getting from the current state to the desired future state by leveraging products and services has to be outlined. Every business case or other financial projection has to be treated with great care and connected to the specific messaging for specific buyer roles. Providing perspectives here means to provide the best possible buying vision from the customer’s point of view, valuable, creative, innovative, profitable; always connected to their future vision of success and the related results and wins.
Navigating value dynamics in the implementation and adoption phase is key to creating happy customers and building a foundation for future business
The customer’s journey doesn’t end when a deal is closed. For them, the project gets started after the buying decision has been made. The sales professional’s work is not done yet. Furthermore, sales professionals have to own the results they have sold. They have to make sure that the value gets delivered and implemented as promised. When they do, sales professionals create happy customers and potential referrals, and build a foundation for future business. Therefore, navigating the value dynamics is a discipline that has to be mastered. It’s essential, but often overlooked, that the value that has been delivered has to be communicated back to the initial executive sponsors of the project. Often, those executives are no longer actively involved, and communicating with them via steering committees and status reports will not make much of an impression. Having these conversations in person, demonstrating the delivered value, makes it personal, tangible and emotional. That’s how sales professional make sure the executives will remember them for next time.
How do you provide perspectives?
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