When we talk about how to build customer consensus, especially in our new environment of larger, more diverse buying groups, the weight sits disproportionately on your ability to figure out the inner workings and needs of each unique customer.
A new sales study, 2016 Selling Challenges Study from Richardson, which surveyed over 400 sales representatives and managers, reveals the trepidation that many salespeople feel in this regard.
For example, salespeople were asked, “In 2016, which of the following do you think will be your biggest challenge in your prospecting efforts?”
The top answer was “identifying triggers/sales signals that indicate issues that you can resolve.”
As more pressure is put on you to become the trusted advisors that customers want you to be, the more anxious you become about your ability to discover needs, ask the right questions, and give the right counsel.
This anxiety shines through in the answers salespeople gave to this sales study question: “In 2016, which of the following do you feel will be your biggest challenge in uncovering and exploring client needs?”
The top answer, at 27%, was “creating value and insight during the conversation with the client.” Again, the pressure is on to be a wise, trusted advisor.
But then there was this very telling stat: 26.6% said their biggest challenge would be “uncovering complete information regarding the decision-making process.”
Not only are salespeople nervous about their ability to say the right thing, but they’re also anxious about their ability to uncover and understand how the buying groups work, who holds the decision-making power, and who are key influencers.
This is understandable: as buying groups get more complex, even the stakeholders themselves might be hard-pressed to identify who exactly has the final say. The answer might be no one.
Finally, to more fully flesh out what worries salespeople most, came this answer in the sales study. Coming in third, 19.4% identified “exploring client issues and challenges to define the strategic impact of your solution” as their biggest challenge in understanding client needs.
Once again, this stat illustrates the difficulty that salespeople are seeing in delving into the customer organization so they can properly frame their solutions to their particular challenges. This makes sense: if you don’t even know who to talk to within a buying group, you’ll have a hard time getting a well-rounded picture of their problems.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway here is simply a confirmation of the changes that have been heralded by CEB and other sales researchers. The buying group is becoming bigger, more complex, and a thornier barrier to penetrate than anyone had supposed. With this in mind, sales teams have good reason to be wary of the task that lies ahead and to work overtime to learn how to build customer consensus in increasingly large, complex buying groups.
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Read the source article at Selling Power