Steve’s Blog

Steve’s Blog

WHAT CAN TECHNOLOGY PROVIDE TO ACTUALLY HELP THE SALE?


In this blog, I would like to continue the discussion of how technology can play a much greater role in actually facilitating the right conversations between buyers and sellers.  Let’s start with identifying three attributes essential to any B2B technology solution and in future blogs I’ll explore each of these attributes in more detail.  At the risk of being redundant, I am also confining my discussions to situations where a long term business relationship is desired.

Collaboration:  The state of technology today is that most platforms are designed to serve the needs of one party or the other. Sellers and buyers both have ERP Systems but other than sometimes providing for the processing of purchase orders, invoicing and payments, there is very little sharing between the two parties.  Yes I’m aware of systems that reach into proprietary data such as inventory for both parties, but again are these actually facilitating the initial sale?  I would argue no, they simply facilitate reordering after a business agreement is reached.

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DOES TECHNOLOGY REALLY HELP THE SALE?


I have been struggling with this question for some time.  At first blush, you might answer yes.  For the buyer, it is now much easier to research products and services and comparison shop before speaking to a sales rep.  However, this now means that a rep can’t rely on being a “two legged talking brochure” to make the sale.  I submit that has made most reps’ jobs much more difficult.  In fact you might argue the rep provides no value if that is their primary selling tactic (and buyers often echo that same sentiment to me).

For the seller, there are now CRM systems that capture lots of data (often of dubious value).  I believe it provides some value to the selling organization in terms of auditing the sales process and perhaps even mining some of the data (however, I wonder if the actual value of the data is suspect simply because it is secondhand data entered by the rep).  Unfortunately, most sales reps will counter that it has not helped them sell as it has created a mandatory administrative workload that takes them away from selling (reps often lament this is the case).

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A Holiday Post for You


‘Twas the January after Christmas, and we were feeling the loss

There was wailing and crying—especially the boss

We’d lost Santa’s business the year before

The resulting financials were quite the eyesore

 

Our arch-nemesis had beaten us, we couldn’t believe

Apparently, they had some new tricks up their sleeve

We had offered deep discounts, we offered services for free

We believed the business was still ours, we popped champagne corks with glee

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THE DANGER OF SELLING VALUE… WHEN YOU ARE NOT PREPARED TO DELIVER IT


In my opinion, the term “Value Selling” is in very real danger of taking on the moniker of the latest fad in B2B selling.  And therefore is at risk of simply becoming another in a long line of sales buzzwords such as “partners”, “what keeps you up at night”, etc.  This is really unfortunate, for I believe selling and delivering value is the only true differentiator. Sadly, this is not just my view as I’ve heard it stated a number of times by my buying clients.

The basic issue is that the salesperson will clearly state during the sale that they are there to provide “value” to the customer and, in many cases, will go through the steps with the customer to try and understand what is of value to them. Less often, the proposal from the salesperson will also propose delivering value to the customer (versus a laundry list of products, services and pricing). When well positioned, this will most likely lead to a sale. You are probably thinking “so far, so good… what’s the problem here?”  Winning deals is not such a bad outcome. And you are certainly correct – at least for the short term.

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MY LATEST BOOK “CREATING VALUE: BUILD A WINNING VALUE PROPOSITION”


After my first book “Proposing Value: Make It Easier For The Customer To Choose You” reached #2 on Amazon, I realized I had been remiss in not thanking my readers who bought the book!  Please accept my apologies.  Hopefully I can make up for the oversight with a special offer just for you on my newest book.

Creating Value: Build A Winning Value Proposition” will be officially launched on Amazon this week and on Friday, November 18 you can purchase a Kindle version for just $0.99.  This book is a prequel to “Proposing Value” and takes us back to how a compelling value proposition is created.

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Best Sales Call Deck for that Initial Visit


After having this blog sent to me for the third time in a month by people I respect, I knew I had to share it with you. How we initially get in the door and have a compelling conversion with a prospect is perhaps one of the hardest things to do in sales – and I don’t think it gets enough attention. I have to agree with the author, Andy Raskin whom I’ve not had the pleasure of meeting, that this IS perhaps the best deck I have seen – at least when it comes to an initial call. Check it out at the following link:

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