By Mike Schultz
There’s little dispute that the world of B2B sales has changed. With all the advice out there, it’s hard to know what to keep, what to tweak, and what to throw out completely. After all, everything we’ve learned over the years can’t be rubbish—and it’s not.
To find out what’s relevant today, the team at RAIN Group studied over 700 B2B sales from the buyer’s perspective. We found that the winners of actual sales opportunities exhibit behaviors on three levels.
The 3 Cs of Winning B2B Sales
In our new book, Insight Selling: Surprising Research on What Sales Winners Do Differently, we share the three levels of RAIN Selling. Based on our research, sales winners:
- Connect: B2B sales winners connect with buyers on a personal level. Ask 10 of the top sellers at your company the keys to their success and I guarantee you that the strength of their relationships is going to be on the list. Relationships are just as important as ever.Sales winners also connect the dots between buyer needs and their own products and services. While this is the basic premise behind solution sales methods, the method needs to change in a few important ways:
- Today’s sales winners don’t just focus on pain, they focus on buyer aspirations and goals.
- Rather than focusing heavily on diagnosing needs, they often simply must demonstrate a clear understanding of needs.
Relationships and solution sales used to be enough to win the sale. While they are still important, they only get you in the game. If you’re in it to win it however, you have two more levels to cover.
- Convince: It’s common advice that sellers need to share a compelling ROI story with buyers. In our study, buyers indicated that sellers not only need to do this, but also:
- Convince buyers that they are the best choice among all other options
- Minimize the perceived risk involved
This last point—the idea of minimizing risk—is an important and often understated factor in the buying process. You could share the most compelling ROI case for moving forward with you, but the buyer still won’t buy if they a) don’t believe it, or b) feel there is too much risk involved to justify the return.
- Collaborate: This is where the research gets interesting. When we looked at the factors that most separate sales winners from second-place finishers, two factors rose to the top. The winners:
- Educated buyers with new ideas or perspectives
- Collaborated with buyers
Now, on their face these might not seem to go together. But where do new ideas come from?
Ideas are often the result of collaboration and brainstorming. Of trial and error. Ideas are a culmination of different peoples’ perspectives and experiences. Sellers who bring new ideas to the table and work collaboratively with buyers to develop new solutions are the ones winning the sale.
In Insight Selling we outline how B2B sales winners not only connect, convince, and collaborate to win new sales, but also to maximize repeat business and referrals.
If you want to learn how to become an insight seller, pick up a copy of our new book. And if you order by May 10, you’ll receive an exclusive expert interview series on what it takes to succeed in sales today. You’ll also be invited to join my Insight Selling co-author, John Doerr for an exclusive webinar on What It Takes to Become an Insight Seller. Plus, we are donating our portion of royalties earned during the launch to the American Heart Association to support congenital heart defect research, which is a cause near and dear to my heart (read chapter 3 to find out why).