Long live Self-Serve Sales !
As consumers, we follow a simple and effective process to obtain information, compare products, check their price and get a freebie test drive. We self-serve. So why aren’t we doing the same in B2B ? Not yet, but in a world of unlimited information sharing, things are changing…
Selling is Dead ? – A few myths
Myth 1: selling is an art, good sales people always sell
Maybe they sell, but what’s the damage ? Under pressure from vulture-like procurement departments and out of sheer desperation to reach their targets, prices are dropped and profitability goes down the drain. The bigger picture is ignored as long as the contracts are signed. Sad but true.
What you can do: Embrace the new values: build relationships on trust, seek customers who share your vision, be honest and transparent and above all be selective.
Myth 2: if we throw money at our sales team, they will push harder and the doors will open
Over 99% of traditional sales effort is wasted, your emails get deleted and your cold calls get cold replies. Maybe you have a great product and by all means let the world know, but reality is that the vast majority of your potential customers are not in the market for it at this time.
What you can do: Share, share and share. If your product is good the customer will find you when he needs you. Maximise your internet footprint, social media streams and above all let the customer self-serve. Let them play with your software product online, let them order a free taster, allow them to get excited and let your goods do the talking. The customer will come to you when the time is right for him !
Myth 3: buying is an art, and suppliers accept the squeeze
The same is true for the old corporate buying culture. Taking suppliers through a lengthy ceremonial procurement process, pushing down the price and squeezing them to death is a blinkered short term view that jeopardises quality and commitment in the long run. Buyers are in the same questionable position as suppliers, driven by barely realistic targets and ignoring the fact that long term success depends on a strong relationship where value is recognised by both sides.
What you can do: As a supplier, try to understand the customer’s buying culture and bow out gracefully if it doesn’t fit yours. Self-serve and be selective !
Selling is Dead ! – Self-Serve Sale in Action
When I visited a car showroom (impressive set of wheels and 100% electric), my host didn’t make the faintest attempt to sell. He correctly assumed I had self-served and knew the product as well as he did. So he just welcomed me, asked about my preferred in-car temperature and my height, tapped them into his mobile and walked me to the car. Seat in perfect position, interior heated to a perfect 20 degrees, I was impressed with the product even before I drove it. The car sold itself ! The same should be true in B2B, for any good product, regardless of your industry.
- Self-serve sales are happening all around us, mainly with our consumer hats on, and we love it !
- Let’s apply the same principles to B2B, build trustworthy relationships, share, collaborate and maximise the self-serve capability
- Let’s cut out the 99% wasted sales cost, invest that budget in your wider marketing effort, your product and your relationships.
- Relax, the customer will come to you when he needs you !
Wim De Maeyer is Agile Solutions Manager at ISB-Global His customers include visionary entrepreneurs who share the vision that processes (incl sales) should be simplified, forward thinking and business strategy are paramount and embracing technology is the key enabler to success. Also see Collaboration begins with you, be a silo buster by by Ken Blanchart, Jane Ripley and Eunice Parisi-Carew