If you're a business owner and in a position where you influence another person, then you're in selling. And sales are the lifeblood for any business,
despite the fact that 'salespeople' are often rated alongside politicians as tending to over-promise and under-deliver.
We need to reframe the concept of the selling function, so it becomes more palatable to those of us who don't really consider ourselves to be salespeople. As an accountant, if you like to help your clients achieve their goals and solve problems then consider taking a sales perspective.
Mike Bosworth gets down to detail on moving away from those stereotypes of 'aggressive and pushy' salespeople, and looks at what it really means to be customer-centric.
The 7 tenets of customer-centric behaviour
- Having situational conversations.
- Asking relevant questions.
- Target business decision makers
- Relating product usage
- Monitor progress rather than activity
- Empowering clients
A customer-centric approach means conversing and asking relevant questions to empower business decision makers to achieve their goals, solve a problem or satisfy a need. It's about really listening, understanding and having empathy with your client to be able to advise on the best solutions.
Geoffrey Moore's adoption curve is well used in discussions around early market innovators.
Andy Lark from Xero uses this to great effect with his 'sharks eating the minnows' analogy. Early adopters have an ability to grasp the capability of new offerings, and visualise how these applications can be used (at an acceptable cost) to provide a competitive advantage for their business.
This focus on 'uses' as opposed to features is at the heart of a customer-centric approach. It's good to keep in mind as you consider your own sales strategies.
Sales and Marketing process
Defining your sales process and creating sales-ready messaging is important to provide structure, accountability, and measurable outcomes. Marketing plays
a role in demand creation, and integrating your sales and marketing processes is essential for success. We are seeing more of a trend to marketing
automation, so be aware that automation without improved process will make a bad system faster. Websites, too, are still more often electronic brochures
leading with product, than aligned with a customer-centric focus.
The 7 selling skills can be distilled into:
- New business development
- Solution development
- Opportunity qualification and control
- Proof management
- Access to key players
- Negotiation and closing
- Monitoring success metrics
Make your sales process your competitive advantage. If you want more information on the benefits a content marketing strategy can bring to your pipeline, contact us now.