The world of marketing is evolving at a fast pace and the competition amongst companies is heating up. Sales professionals are struggling to reach the right decision-makers to increase their sales funnel. Even the best of the sales professionals face obstacles in developing relationships with prospective clients.
Hurdles in the sales process
You may have the software product, but you do not know whom to approach. This is the biggest challenge that you face while selling your software product. In the next stage, maybe you will know that a particular company will require this software product, but alas, you do not know who the decision-maker is and whom to approach for your software product. Getting the right stakeholder and developing a cadence of contact across multiple channels within the clients’ environment are key to success. Success is also about coalescing between multiple stakeholders who have different priorities. Success today is also about knowing when and where each skill or software product needs to be deployed.
The next challenge maybe once you identify the requirement, you should offer a solution that offers a breadth of features and customisation that make it easily stand head and shoulder over other products offered by the competitor. The pricing may also be a factor but is usually pushed down the priority scale when you are operating in a niche sector. The other challenge that the companies face is usually integrating with the client's existing legacy system or a software that will completely gel with the requirement of the client in a short period of time. The sales professional should be smart enough to gauge the requirement and present it appropriately to the client. The sales professional should learn consistently to create a competitive difference.
Solving client needs
The sales professional should get the attention of the stakeholder within the first few minutes of interaction. Creating value and insight during the conversation with the client is the first step to success. The sales professional should have a deep understanding of the client industry and business and the challenges that need to be overcome in the industry.
The golden rules
The sales professional should ensure that he creates value and insight during the conversation. This is one of the major challenges that sales professionals face. The client time is scarce and getting their attention in the short span is critical. The sales professional should have done good research not only on his own product and its value addition but should also have done a good competitive study on competitor products and should be in a position to highlight how his product will be a competitive advantage.
The sales professional should be able to identify the pain points of the client and how this can be addressed through his product. It has also been found that pricing is one of the major factors on which decisions are based by the stakeholders unless it is in a niche sector. The client usually takes his decision based on the lowest bidders L1 or L2. But then it is up to the sales professional again to come back and convince the respective stakeholder as to how his product will be the best despite not being in the L1 or L2.
Sometimes sales professionals may see the client comfortable with their existing legacy system. Sales professionals may have to "build a case for change". Sales professionals may have to convince the client that the product is going to add value over the clients’ existing legacy system. Even if the clients see the value in the product, they often fear the burden of implementation and adoption that distracts them from going for the purchase. The sales professional is then required to give an end-to-end solution with a definite time frame that can make the product go live in the client environment.
Delivering a compelling value proposition is the most valuable selling skill. A meaningful value proposition is rare in a business landscape and this is where the sales professional should concentrate. The sales professional should keep in mind that ‘nothing sells itself’. One has to make an effort to sell and how that effort is made is the differentiation that one can create in the market. The sales professional should also keep in mind that he should keep in touch with the client even after the sales is done. After all, there is a word called ‘Account Mining’.
K Satish Kumar is a keynote speaker, author, the Global Head of Legal and Chief Data Protection Officer of Ramco Systems. Among the many awards he has received, the coveted are “Top 50 Legal Leaders 2019” by Legal IP Gorilla in Singapore, “GC PowerList India 2018” by London based Legal 500, “Legal Counsel of the Year -2018” by INBA. He is actively involved in many pro bono activities through Chennai Lawyers. The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The views expressed are personal. Read his columns