Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today's post, "2019 Game Changing Sales Strategies" provides a deep dive into winning sales strategies that are proven approaches to converting and motivating targets to either purchase or disengage. Regardless of the technological advances that would appear to alter sales strategies and tactics, the remaining core of any sales strategy lies in solid psychological truths that makeup the foundation behind decision making. As in any walk of life and across all sectors, fundamentals always apply and sales fundamentals are no exception.
Sales strategies to a greater extent are thought to now be intersected with marketing, and thus the lines between the two disciplines have become somewhat blurred. While automated digital tools such as CRM applications are nonetheless offering a seamless bridge between sales and marketing communications, the sales process fundamentals still apply. Sales after all, especially within the B2B arena continues to ultimately rely on person-to-person engagement.
Sales managers and sales people are more than likely keenly aware of many sales strategy methodologies, however, there is mounting evidence that sales strategies can become misaligned when looking to forsake tried and true sales fundamentals in favor of succumbing to the promises of selling via digital with new sales ideologies. That said, let's dive into 2019 game changing sales strategies.
Begin By Targeting Niche Markets
Cold calling remains an integral part of the sales strategy, and while cold calling would appear on the surface to be akin to shooting darts in the blind, there is more upside to this approach if executed properly. To begin with, expanding the advantage of cold calling outreach results can be achieved by targeting niche market segments that present a commonality of discomfort challenges your organization can specifically solve. By focusing on a particular niche market, sales presentations can become more uniquely focused, with the idea of establishing pain points, common challenges, solutions, and the answers that can solve those niche market worries. The narrower the focus, the more exact the sales presentation and pitch can become.
For example, if the sales pitch is for selling a CRM system to a limited, small niche market, then the choices could be narrowed to only companies that have at least 150 employees. You may further qualify the niche market to include a particular area of the United States, and other pre-qualifiers that would round out that niche market. The takeaway here is that sales pitches can be perfected more rapidly due to the fact that all focus would be designed for a set of like-minded organizations that fit into that specific niche market. In addition, the practice of focusing on smaller niche markets is a long-term strategy, however, it is also one that allows the sales department to gain practice on how to target niche categories, so failing at any level upfront may not be a long-term loss.
Flexible Sales Pitches
Sales pitches that are set in stone without allowing for variances or compromises are sure to fail the majority of the time. The conversations that arise during a sales call are likely to present concerns, demands and possibly a set of new challenges that the sales pitch could not have had in its purview. Even when targeting a niche market, many of those like minded businesses will have divergent infrastructures and internal processes. The sales killer when facing unforeseen circumstances is to respond with remarks such as, "Oh, we don't do that," or "That won't work, "or "It can't be done," or any variation of a negative statement.
It's important to remember that the art of sales conversion is never about the sales person. Although it does help if the client finds an affinity with the sales person, but moreover, it's about presenting enough quality information that allows the prospect to make their own decision to purchase. Therefore, in being flexible, and avoiding 'no' responses, the perception of being a problem-solver remains intact, and at the end of the day is a plus and not a minus. Bottom line, the sales pitch should be crafted to include the capability of being able to address unexpected variances that support the idea, "Yes, I believe we can make that happen for you."
Regardless of what type of product/service you are selling, it is important to focus on what you are really selling. The product or service is the entry level ticket to the sales game, however what you are really selling is a solution to a problem. In presentations where the sales pitch leads with promotions, pricing and various packages, in many cases, you've already lost the prospect's interest. In addition, if the opening salvo is also focused on purchasing today, or this week, to save dollars, that approach also fails, as the conversation has veered away from identifying the challenges and suggesting solutions.
Therefore, the correct approach should be centered around the research that was done to build the sales presentation, and should lead with what benefits and features are in it for the prospect. Regardless of how many competitive organizations your brand is competing against, it is a dangerous mindset to treat your products/services as commodities, as opposed to unique value driven solutions. Further, this approach should also be considered with cold email initiatives: Offer to solve a challenge or a problem before you start pushing what your company has to offer.
End Results Matter
In the 2006 movie, Miami Vice, featuring Jamie Foxx as Rico Tubbs and Colin Farrell as Sonny Crocket, there was a scene in which both Tubbs and Crocket were meeting Arcangel de Jesus Montoya, the head Drug Lord kingpin, for the first time to solidify a delivery contract. In the meeting, Montoya stated to both men that over and above the expertise and promises made to him, he nonetheless stated that his overarching purchase was based on buying a result.
Similar to Montoya, businesses of all types and sizes are buying results based on the sales pitch. Therefore, the end results of any proposed solution should be made crystal clear, thereby ensuring maximum engagement, upon delivery. In addition, end results are a significant factor that brings and binds a value statement to the overarching contract. The end results are a delineating component that is vital for sales pitches that require upfront payments, or time sensitive launches, the complexity of integrations, and communications that may be required between sales staff and customers in the ongoing pursuit of delivering the items in the pitch.
Further, in the event you're selling a product/service the prospect has no prior experience or knowledge of, the sales pitch will also need to educate them with what to expect, including the forecasted end results.
Identify and Connect with Decision Makers
Wasting precious time with lower level staff and managers who are excluded from the decision making process can be extremely frustrating, not to mention, unproductive. However, there is an art to capturing the attention of those managers and directors who are the decision makers. By providing a value proposition, with careful attention to not ask for anything, including a meeting, goes a long way in generating interest among the decision maker crowd.
The first step here is to analyze your brand's core competency and ensure how it will provide outstanding value prior to beginning a conversation with the prospect.
For example, a sales person working for a leading daily newspaper in New York was looking to land Sleepy's, a mattress distributor and could not get a return call from the decision maker. This sales person's contact was limited to speaking with the receptionist, and consequently was reduced to leaving messages which were never returned.
As a result, this sales person decided to change the game by collecting competitive newspaper ads that were running in the sales persons paper, including making in person-trips to the 11 competitive locations of a brand that was also selling mattresses in the same blocks as Sleepy's.
That sales person smartly prepared a mail package that contained the ads of all the mattress competitors that were using the sales person's paper, including sales loss percentages of the all the Sleepy stores. There was no sales pitch, but just a phone number with the tag line, "I can help you win back marketshare." As a result, the package was mailed via Overnight Express and the day the package arrived, the sales person received a call for the first time from the decision maker, which resulted in $250k annual contract. Not all sales results can be achieved in this fashion, however, the idea of communicating a valuable message that promises to solve a problem goes a long way, even in this digital age.
Storytelling Makes All the Difference
Storytelling is not just for content marketing development. Storytelling has been at the heart of human communications since the beginning of mankind's desire to preserve human progress for future generations. From the early cave painted depictions of kings, pharaohs, queens, princes and the like, storytelling has been in our DNA. Storytelling is a major ingredient that captures the imagination, and goes to a deeper level of comprehension and understanding. In fact, Jennifer Aaker, a Stanford Graduate School of Business professor recently stated, "Research shows our brains are not hard-wired to understand logic or retain facts for very long.
Our brains are wired to understand and retain stories. A story is a journey that moves the listener, and when the listener goes on that journey they feel different. The result is persuasion and sometimes action."
That said, when a sales person uses the art of storytelling as an ingredient in their sales strategy, what is really happening is that they are tapping into the thousands of years of human evolution, from where storytelling originated. The storytelling aspect can take and be triggered in many forms, such as when an Instagram account has experienced a high volume of activity beset by a business expose.
That's a great story to impart to a prospect, particularly in the event that story is based around a current client. Great business stories are steeped in examples of how prospects were able to move beyond avoiding trust issues and into garnering positive outcomes. Storytelling is captivating and more memorable than a stack of facts and offerings.
Other Game Changing Sales Strategies
We will endeavor to add to this post in our next upcoming sales strategy posts, as there are more instances to cover. Namely, the art of negotiations, how to follow up, identifying risks and opportunities, selling yourself, developing the right mindset, product demos, the art of how to correctly create a sense of urgency and much more.
As competitive landscapes become more crowded, it is imperative to develop a cognizant and winning sales strategy based on delivering problem-solving solutions that change the game. Thanks for reading "2019 Game Changing Sales Strategies."
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