For those of us in the trenches, it is obvious that buying and selling have changed significantly due to Covid and the shift to virtual selling. But what does the research say about these changes and what can we do to overcome the new challenges?
To answer this question, I have an amazing guest in this episode of The Modern Selling Podcast, Andee Harris.
Andee is the CEO of Challenger, a global leader in training, technology, and consulting, and the creators of the Challenger sales methodology. She has more than two decades of experience in growing and scaling service and technology businesses and previously led multiple companies, both as CEO and Senior Vice President.
Don’t miss our conversation to learn how you and your team can succeed in the new sales landscape.The New Challenges of Buying and Selling with Andee Harris, #176 Click To Tweet
What is different about buying and selling today?
Andee says it’s a buyer’s market right now. That means that companies have had to reprioritize their spending across categories.
“Every purchase,” she says, “every function is now under a lot of scrutiny because a lot of companies are in survival mode.”
According to Challenger’s research, a third of companies have implemented a purchasing freeze. Additionally, procurement is now playing a bigger role in approving purchases than before.
Andee says their data shows that 54% of companies require prior approval before even being able to submit requests for software and services, even at the 5k level.
“We see in our research that 38% of companies are requiring an RFP, so it’s a formal submission process. There are just a lot more hoops and a lot more stages of the sales process that you have to get through; more stakeholders that lead to a really complex sales process. You need to be able to address the skills of your sellers, what technologies you’re using, what advice, and what consulting you’re using to get through this market.”
In the digital sales era, buyers do their own research and already have tons of information when they start speaking to a seller. So sales leaders must teach their teams to adapt to this new environment, coaching sellers to adjust to the buyer and provide a customized sales experience.
Listen to the whole episode to discover why remote selling is not an excuse to spend less time building relationships with customers and what your sellers can do to succeed in a buyer’s market.The New Challenges of Buying and Selling with Andee Harris, #176 Click To Tweet
Gaining Market Access
In the past year, the number of emails has increased to 40.6 billion, while the response rate has gone down to 1%.
What can sellers do to stand out?
Andee says sellers should send emails that are very unique and different.
“We’re all getting bombarded with messages and, honestly, they all look the same to me. I’m not going to respond unless it’s someone I actually know or it’s an introduction from somebody I know, but also really is someone insightful that teaches me something new about my business, something revolutionary that I haven’t thought about.”
Sellers should become more creative when engaging with prospects and follow a sequence of prospecting messages or sales cadence without giving up prematurely.
“At Challenger, we teach about mobilizers. Being on remote meetings you can’t get all the stakeholders together in one room. So really having that mobilizer, that person that’s going to drive your business case within the organization, is even more critical.”The New Challenges of Buying and Selling with Andee Harris, #176 Click To Tweet
Another problem in today’s buying and selling environment is that many opportunities are not closing. Despite sellers having multiple meetings and calls with buyers, there is no decision because of lack of funding or other reasons.
What can sellers do to protect against an opportunity ending in a no-decision?
Andee mentions the need to develop the Challenger skills, which are different from just being passionate or being a hard worker and doing all your chores as a seller.
“You really want to focus on those skills like brainpower and creativity. If you’re relying on just gifts and graces, it’s not going to move the needle. The strategy is really to help people do well the hard things that differentiate them.”
Listen to the full episode for some examples of creative strategies we use at Vengreso (hint: use video for sales). Plus, Andee reveals the most important skills needed to facilitate a high level of growth (hint: it has to do with understanding the big picture and negotiating).