What Are The Circumstances Where B2B Field Salespeople Can Flourish?

By | July 13, 2007

Given the challenges some sales organisations face (see ‘The Trend Continues – (Some) Field Salespeople Are an Endangered Species’), how can you avoid these problems?

  1. Be in a market where buyers risk is high. These days this is beyond the control of any sales organisation. Buyers risk is a function of how a buyer feels about making a purchasing decision without the input of a supplier expert. If they feel they can make independent, unilateral purchasing decisions, then the buyers risk is low. Commodity markets, industrial consumables, and raw materials being two obvious ones are where buying the basic product is something that can be done by somebody who knows what they are doing, so the buyers risk is low. Buyers risk profiles are changing in all markets, some slowly some quickly. Some risk profiles are still high or increasing, which is where salespeople come in. Simply put, when the buyers risk falls below a certain point, unless you can in some way sophisticate your offer, to ‘re-establish the risk, the salesperson’s role becomes unsustainable.
  2. Continually innovate. Be relentless about developing your offer, always have something new to say, something your customers need to be educated to understand or trained to use.
  3. Inhabit your customers’ world. Buyers risk falls when the landscape is flat and buyers can see for themselves where the horizon is. By really understanding the context of their environment you can see that the landscape is not flat, there are features that could represent opportunities or risks, through your interpretation of these challenges the customer feels that you (the salesperson) is the conduit to insight they don’t have. The only way they can access this knowledge is through buying your product.
  4. Envision the market. Demonstrate thought leadership, write white papers, speak on industry platforms, invite customers to seminars, have something new to say.

These 4 factors are highly interrelated. But before you begin investing in moving up the value chain to increase buyers’ risk, remember, it’s driven by their perception on yours. If they believe buyers risk is low and you show them nothing that persuades them to change their view then you have a (near) commodity and should design your value proportion accordingly.

SalesPathways help sales organisations increase buyers’ risk. To find out more contact us.

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