Quick confession to my sales peers out there: I didn’t start my career as one of you. My background is rooted in traditional marketing, and I have spent the majority of my career leading marketing-focused teams.
At Vennli, I have moved into a leadership role that covers both sales and marketing. I have loved this experience so far because I now see the sales process from an entirely new perspective: in partnership with marketing, and with a mutual understanding of the inner workings of the other. If both teams are on the same agenda, the “macro�? concepts of a traditional marketing idea can beautifully complement the “micro�? concepts of the tactical sales execution.
The truth is that despite our differing backgrounds, sales and marketing must partner effectively to reach the customer. The “dynamic duo�? relationship between marketing and sales is the heart of every organization - driving revenue, creating meaningful relationships and contributing to valuable growth.
Exemplary sales and marketing teams are committed to achieving these goals together while maintaining brand integrity. Customers must be won ethically, honestly, and with their best interests at heart.
It’s natural to be competitive in this line of work. We raise the bar continuously; we all have a voracious focus on getting the deal and providing exceptional service for our clients while contributing value to our organizations. That is who we are and how we are trained as sales professionals.
But in our excitement to seal the deal, do we rush through our client interactions? Are we asking the right questions? Most importantly, are we actually listening to what our clients are trying to tell us? Is the customer truly at the center of your sales process? The key for handling these interactions boils down to one golden rule: Don’t just sell for the sake of selling - be a consultant.
Consultative selling implies a deeper relationship beyond the sales transaction. It means you have your customers’ backs long after the ink has dried on the contract. It means that you are listening, asking the right questions and showing them how your solution fixes their business problem. Consultative selling demonstrates that your words and actions have the customers’ best interests in mind. This method begins from the first interaction with the client. You start by asking about the goals of their business.
- How do they understand their market?
- How do they define success?
- What metrics are they currently using to benchmark if they are successful or not?
- What are the biggest factors driving their business now and in the future?
- What is their competition doing?
- What value are they looking for in a solution to their problem? (i.e. from you)
- How will they make their purchasing decision?
Next, take a step back and evaluate what your client just told you. Ask yourself the tough questions:
- How does your company’s offering provide the value they are looking for?
- How does it not? Is your offering actually a good fit for what they need?
- What will it take for your organization to move to the next level of partnership with this client?
- How can you anticipate their needs before they do?
A personal, consultative sales approach will help you create a lasting business relationship and develop a true customer-driven strategy. Knowing what value the customer is looking for, how they will make their purchasing decision, and how your offerings tie in will create a sustainable differentiation from your competition... a differentiation that will give your team the edge to WIN!