One of the biggest challenges for companies in the new normal is serving B2B and B2C customers working from home. Priorities and needs have changed, so sales leaders must also change their sales strategy to match the new commercial landscape.
I’m very excited to have a leader in the trenches in this episode of the Modern Selling podcast, who has the experience and the insights to help you navigate through these shifting times.
So don’t miss my conversation with Christoph Schell, Chief Commercial Officer at HP Inc and a member of the HP Executive Leadership Team. Christoph and his team are accountable for all aspects of the go-to-market strategy, revenue, and operations globally.
Listen now and keep reading!
The New Commercial Landscape
One of the most significant changes across the commercial landscape since the pandemic began is the move of thousands of people to work and learn virtually.
Christoph says that because of the new work-from-home and learn-from-home reality, we have created a new customer segment. It’s not just a consumer, family entertainment segment, or a commercial (SMB and Enterprise) segment, but a mix of both called the prosumer.Wow 💥 The new work-from-home and learn-from-home reality gave rise to the new prosumer customer segment. #SalesStrategy Thanks, @christophschel from @hp and @m_3jr for this @GoModernSelling ep. Click To Tweet
This has become an opportunity for companies like HP, who serve the business needs of those working from home, but now also have a “foot on the door” to serve the entertainment needs of the worker’s family.
Organizations are moving very rapidly into outcome-based value propositions across all segments, which, of course, presents new challenges.
For instance, with subscription-based models, consumers are not locked into long-term agreements but can cancel at any time, so companies have the pressure to make their services relevant all the time, focusing on workflow and design, and not just hardware.
Christoph says that at HP they are very excited about the subscription model in their printing business. They had planned this change would happen in the next 4 to 5 years but it happened in 5 months because of COVID.
“I define prosumer as you leave it up to the prosumer to design their own products,” Christoph says.
He cites HP’s 3D printing service, which allows consumers to design their own products to obtain their desired outcomes, printing components when and where they are required.
The same happened at Vengreso. As a sales training company we used to have one-day in-person events but now have pivoted to a subscription-based model, becoming an exclusively virtual sales training company.
The recurring question we ask ourselves and our customers is, what is the recurring value of our products and services?
That is a question all salespeople must ask in this new commercial landscape, so we can create new offers that bring upselling revenue.Great question: What is the recurring value of your products and services? #salespeople must ask this to create new offers that bring upselling revenue. @GoModernSelling ep. with @christophschel from @hp and @M_3jr Click To Tweet
HP has a subscription service called Instant Ink, where customers pay a fee based on the number of pages they print and not the amount of ink they use. In the backend, the printer is communicating with the HP cloud and as soon as the cartridges are at a 25% fill level, HP sends new cartridges to the customer. This service was available before COVID but it became more popular when people couldn’t go out. It became more convenient.
Subscription services are personalized to the needs of the individuals but also allow for adjacency business models, where new services or products can be offered, connecting the different value propositions of the company to particular customers.
Christoph provided a great example of how to move from a transactional business into a subscription-based business while personalizing it to the customer.
In his example, he says that instead of buying a laptop, people could rent one and pay a subscription. The subscription plan could be personalized to the usage patterns of the machine, such as one rate for weekdays when the CPU usage is normal (work-related tasks) and another rate for the weekends when the CPU usage is high (gaming and entertainment) and the customer may need to connect to certain cloud services.
The bottom line here is to find relevance within your customer base, create solutions that drive subscription-based revenue, and make it easy to upsell features.
Shifting the Sales Conversation
How do you bring that relevancy and personalization discussion to the sales conversation?
“First, you need to have a value proposition that is relevant,” Christoph says. “Then you need to change the pitch and the engagement approach because you are moving from a transactional sale to an outcome-based sale.”
For example, in B2B, transactional sales occur with a procurement team, but an outcome-based sale occurs with the C-level executives or the heads of the departments that need that outcome. That kind of sale requires daily or weekly interactions. It’s not just dropping off the hardware after the sale, but providing continuous service once the sale is awarded.
In today’s virtual engagements, where video calls are ubiquitous, people sometimes turn the camera off and sellers can’t see their prospect’s face, so it’s harder to pitch.
That’s why sellers have to stand out using social media, engaging with the prospect way before the call, knowing who they are and what is important in their lives. They must connect, engage, and build rapport with prospects through social networks, so when they get to the pitch, prospects already know who they are.
The Future of Social Selling
“Social selling is very important,” Christoph says. “You are now mixing the brand with your own brand, representing your company, their values. Sellers need to be consistent with their personal brands and align them to the company’s brand.”
Christoph says he builds his brand on LinkedIn and teaches his team to do the same. He spends 90 minutes every day on LinkedIn, finding sales leads and opportunities, and engaging in conversations.
“The future of social selling is that you will have a direct touch through social selling channels with every single customer, so the value propositions will have to be hyper-personalized.”#ModernSellers, the future of #socialselling is hyper-personalization and adding value to every customer interaction. Great @GoModernSelling ep. with @christophschel from @hp and @M_3jr Click To Tweet
Today, modern sellers must be digitally connected, socially engaged, mobile-attached, and video hungry, because that is the description of the modern buyer.
Listen to the whole episode to learn more about shifting your sales strategy to an outcome-based model and how HP is innovating with subscriptions and annuities, so you can implement similar strategies in your organization.
Outline of this Sales Strategy Podcast Episode
- [2:00] About Christoph Schell
- [8:15] How has the commercial landscape changed since the pandemic began?
- [13:20] How has the shift to remote working affected sales strategy?
- [18:52] Personalized offers
- [31:20] How do you bring relevancy and personalization to sales conversations?
- [47:47] The future of social selling