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Types of Sales Strategies
When it comes to the B2B sales process, it’s harder than ever for an account executive to get their foot in the door. That’s because on average, customers are already 70% through their buying journey before they even start talking to potential suppliers. They have already formed a buying team, identified their problem, researched potential solutions, and set parameters for what the solutions need to accomplish. According to recent research from Gartner, they spend only 17% of their buying process actually meeting with sales reps. And each individual sales team only gets maybe 5% of their time. That doesn’t give them much of an opportunity to make an impression.
We often talk about how much the B2B sales strategy has changed over the past several years. But that’s because the buying process has changed as well. Customers have grown more accustomed to figuring out their problems and researching a solution themselves. Close to half of the buying process involves doing research both online and offline. Because the information is so readily available, they don’t need as much input from sellers. These days, sales reps have few occasions to meet with buying teams and discuss why their solution is better than that of their competition.
On top of that, buying teams are not interested in getting a sales pitch. They want to do business with a supplier who functions less as a vendor and more as an advisor. And they expect that a supplier knows their company inside and out. According to research from Salesforce, 84% of buying teams say they are more likely to make a purchase from sales reps who have a clear understanding of their goals. However, more than half of those businesses believe that the majority of sales reps don’t have a firm grasp on what they are trying to accomplish.
That doesn’t mean that sales reps don’t have a chance these days. They just have to be aware that the playing field has changed. The types of sales strategies that were the basis for so many successful campaigns in the past just aren’t cutting it today. The one-size-fits-all model won’t work for everyone. The most effective b2b sales strategy for startups might not be the right one for enterprise companies. In today’s world, where the recurring revenue model has become more and more important, you have to know how to write a sales strategy that’s right for your company. Look for our example of a great sales and marketing plan below.
What Are Examples of Sales Strategies?
What are B2B companies looking for when they do an online search for “What are the top three sale strategies?” or “What are the four sales strategies used today?” What they really want to know is which sales strategy will help their company connect with prospects, qualify those that are a great fit, and convince them that their solution is the right one for them. The truth is that there are a lot of sales strategies that will take you this far. What are examples of sales strategies that have worked for companies in the past? Here’s a few that they return to again and again:
Solution Selling. One of the oldest sale strategies is called solution selling. Because it’s scalable, solution selling is an example of a sales strategy that works well for small businesses. A customer comes to your company already aware of the problem and the probable solution. Your team only has to assist them with selecting the product that best meets their needs. Among the advantages of solution selling is that it is a fairly short sales process. The biggest disadvantage is that it isn’t the best way to build a relationship with a customer. That’s why many companies have moved on to consultative selling.
Consultative Selling. This sales strategy is about establishing a long-term relationship with a customer. Consultative selling is most effective when a customer knows that they have a problem but needs help understanding potential solutions. That’s when your team has the opportunity to educate them on the options as well as help them select the right product. Before you sit down with a customer you need to take the time to research their company and figure out their pain points. By the time you meet with them, you have already diagnosed their problem. Consultative selling is an excellent way to establish a relationship with a customer that lasts long beyond the initial sale.
Provocative Selling. Solution selling and consultative selling worked well until about 2003, when the dot-com bubble burst. Cash-strapped customers suddenly weren’t interested in buying new technology. Sales teams had to get more creative, pushing innovative solutions even if a customer hadn’t identified a specific problem. Provocative selling — also known as strategic selling — is when a sales rep tells a customer that they have a problem and what the solution is. It’s all about provoking a response from the customer. This strategy often requires executives from the seller to reach out to executives from the buyer.
Is any of these types of sales right for your company? When it comes to putting together an effective B2B sales strategy, the framework is important. A strategy that works for one company might not work at all for another, even if both are in the same industry, are selling the same type of product or service, or are targeting the same customer base. Let Winning by Design, the leader in accelerating and optimizing recurring revenue for B2B organizations, come up with a sales strategy framework that helps you grow your company. For more than a decade, Winning by Design has helped B2B companies of all sizes reach their goals.
Effective Sales Strategy
The sales strategy examples mentioned above are still used by many sales teams around the world. But the way that B2B companies approach sales changed in 2008, when a new strategy emerged to take advantage of the recurring revenue model that was taking hold at the time. Tech companies that had been relying on the one-time purchase model opted instead for a recurring revenue stream. Software as a Service, or SaaS, quickly became the most effective sales strategy for this new way of doing business. It focuses on the fact that up to 93% of the lifetime value that companies get from their customers happens after the initial deal.
SaaS does not replace sales strategies like solution selling, consultative selling, and provocative selling. It adapts them to higher velocity sales cycles of the recurring revenue model. For example, companies might use provocative selling for prospecting, consultative selling for sales, and solution selling for customer success. That essentially is what we are seeing today at many organizations. SaaS is a great sales strategy for startups, since it helps them build their customer base. And it’s one of the strategies that more established companies use to increase sales.
By this point you understand the importance of having a successful sales strategy for your recurring revenue company. Now it’s time to implement a sales strategy plan. For SaaS to be as effective as possible, all customer-facing employees — Sales, Sales Development, Business Development, and Customer Success — need to be on the same page. That’s where Winning by Design’s Revenue Academy comes in. We help you unify your team by offering open training sessions geared toward every role. And the training levels up as your team does. Those moving up within their department, or moving into management or executive positions, have courses that will help them learn the necessary skills.
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