B2B sales has always evolved to address the needs of buyers and decision makers. When the external environment is stable, you might experience a period of stasis, where there is no reason to change. But when the external environment is one of accelerating, constant disruptive change you should pay careful attention to the changes and their implications on how you sell. We are living through a time when the rate of change is accelerating faster than ever, and it will be with us for what looks to be a long time.
We cannot change the external environment. We may not like the changes it has brought, but we need to recognize them and adapt if we want to succeed. Those who continue to do what they have always done because it is comfortable will eventually struggle to produce the results they need.
In the last couple of decades, B2B buying and selling have changed, particularly as to how much information is available. Your buyers and mine both have little trouble getting information, which leads them to reject the legacy sales approaches. Buyers don’t want to suffer through meetings where you talk about your company and your offerings. If you have a sales pipeline with deals that have had a first meeting without a second one, you have evidence that your sales approach didn’t provide the sales experience the buyer needed.
Salespeople paying attention to these changes in buyer’s behaviors will have noticed that the number of people participating in the sales conversation is growing exponentially, making it more difficult for buyers and sellers to move forward together.
Why You Must Adopt a Modern Sales Approach
If your longtime sales approach no longer provides your prospective clients the experience they need, you will lose deals you might have won in the past. If you believe that you need more coverage in your pipeline, you may find that adding opportunities does little to help you reach your sales goals and objectives.
Buyers change before sales organizations change. As salespeople, we must change what we do to ensure our clients get what they need from the sales conversation. Salespeople who don’t recognize the changes will suffer poor results until they transform their sales approach.
If you are still using an approach five decades old or one that is an update to an approach from the 1990s, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Trying to update an antiquated approach is like getting a new paint job for your old car. It looks nice, but you will not produce better results. You need to sell in a way that causes your clients to prefer to buy from you.
Every week, we hear from salespeople who confess they abandoned their legacy approach to adopt a modern sales approach. Many suggest that they have a tough time selling when their sales managers ride along with them. Being forced to use the legacy approach ends badly for the salesperson and leaves the prospect disappointed, even if the sales manager is pleased.
Why would you use a legacy approach that isn’t what your buyers need?
How to Adopt a Modern Sales Approach
The most important decision you need to make is not what modern sales methodology you choose, but rather to use a modern sales approach. To make this change from legacy to modern, you must replace your approach. This means changing how you sell.
The first thing you will need to do is to start the conversation with your leadership team, including an explanation of the changes in buyer behaviors and what they need from a salesperson. The sooner you support a more effective sales approach, the sooner you and your team will improve your results.
To change how you sell, you will need to work with your sales managers to help them recognize the need to change and the new behaviors they will need from their sales teams. We have never seen a successful transformation without sales managers playing a critical role in helping their salespeople adopt the new approach and its strategies.
You will also need to enable your sales force with the information disparity and the insights your clients need to rightly decide for their company and their future results. It is best to choose an approach that is practical, tactical, and easy for the sales force to use.
The strategies of a modern sales approach differ from those in a legacy sales approach because they create value for the client in the sales conversation. There are several strategies you will need to teach and train your team.
It will take time to adopt a modern sales approach, but better sales results will come sooner than you might expect.
How and Why to Adopt a Modern Sales Methodology
The longer one goes without noticing the changes in B2B buying and selling, the longer it will take for them to understand why they need to change. The evidence has been clear for longer than you might expect. When what you do isn’t what your clients need, you have every reason to change.
The way to change from an outdated sales process to a modern sales approach is well known and documented. You and your team may need to have several conversations before embarking on this journey, as this is an important change in how you sell.
Leaving this article, explore the change from legacy to modern. You can start with this set of articles. If you need help making this transformation, contact us here.