With two economic downturns in the past decade, buyers have permanently and fundamentally changed, requiring that B2B solution providers prove the bottom-line impact, significant return on investment (ROI) and fast payback of any proposed solution. This condition, termed “frugalnomics”, requires that sales professionals adopt new tactics, to connect, engage and sell to today’s more economic-focused buyer.
Sales executives are recognizing the changing buyer landscape, and are seeking to re-engineer and empower sales professionals to meet the needs of these new buyers and effectively fight frugalnomics. According to CSO Insights, respondents decidedly indicate that improving the ability to show benefits/ value to prospects is the number one priority, In the technology sector for example, 29% of respondent indicated this as the number one priority, while another 60% indicated improving benefit / value delivery as a top 3 priority.
This dramatically exceeds the next highest priorities by 25% or more for technology sales, particularly Reaching People with Power, Optimizing Sales Processes, and Increasing Customer Loyalty.
The CSO Insights Sales Management survey for 2011 examined responses from sales executives at 850 firms.
Proving Benefits and Value throughout the Buyer’s Journey
In order to succeed in this new environment, sales professionals need to show the benefits of proposed solutions and prove superior value to ever more frugal buyers.
The successful sales groups will move from selling products, to helping buyer’s facilitate their decision making cycle, a set of change management steps a buyer goes through in their journey towards a purchase decision.
A buyer's journey, as mapped by sales & marketing advisory SiriusDecisions, is as follows:
In the beginning of the journey, buyers often are risk adverse, and unwilling to make a change. The status quo is often good enough. They are often unaware that certain issues should be a priority. At this Discovery phase in the journey, sales professionals needs to help buyer’s understand that certain issues should be a priority, and that solutions exist to help solve the opportunities and deliver significant benefits. At this stage, the sales professional seeks to make the issue a priority to solve, over all other issues.
In the middle phases of the buyer’s journey, the Consideration phase, the solution should be justified with a formal business case, in order to convince other stakeholders and executives that the proposal can deliver, especially when compared to other proposed projects, a significant ROI, quick payback. The sales professional seeks to make the proposed project a priority over all other proposed projects.
In the final step of the journey, the Decision phase, sales professionals need to assure buyers that the selected solution represents the best value over competitive alternatives. At this stage, assuring the buyer that the solution delivers incremental value, less risk, and lower total cost of ownership is key to closing the deal.
2. Reduce sales cycles and unfreeze stuck deals
3. Reduce discounting and improve deal size / transaction value
4. Improve competitive win rates
The Bottom Line
Buyers have fundamentally and permanently changed, requiring sales to take a new approach to fight the current “frugalnomics” trend. The priority for 2011 clearly recognizes this shift, with an initiative for sales enablement to prove the benefits and value of solutions to ever more frugal buyers.
Best practices, mapped to the buyer’s journey facilitation, can point the way to the right provocative, value selling tools to use to facilitate the buyer’s decision making process.
The CSO Insights Sales Management Optimization research report for 2011 can be found at: http://www.csoinsights.com/Publications/Shop/sales-management-optimization
A free sample is available at: http://info.csoinsights.com/BenchmarkGreatestHits.html
Additional strategies and best practices can be found at the Fight Frugalnomics Resource Center: http://www.fightfrugalnomics.com