One of the recent trends facing B2B companies is the shift in power back up the corporate ladder. In the past a mid-level manager may have had the authority to purchase your product or service. That responsibility now exists farther up the food chain where you may or may not have relationships.
So how do you get the ear of the executive suite? In the March issue of Harvard Business Review, authors Philip Lay, Todd Hewlin, and Geoffrey Moore cover this topic in their cover article called “Provoke Your Customers“.
The article talks about changing how you sell – from solutions-based to provocation-based. You need to sell by understanding your client’s “critical issue” beyond what your product or service provides them. What are the bottom line issues that their business faces and how are you the company to solve it?
Once you identify that critical issue, you need to find a path to the executive in charge. Unfortunately, your current point of contact may be a hindrance since most people don’t like admitting they no longer have the influence they once had.
This is where your sales training goes beyond the typical lead generation. The authors go on to talk about the importance of using your referral network to get you a meeting. My advice to you is opening your pitch with “this is going to benefit your bottom line” – as return on investment is critical now more than ever.
People mistake marketing as the final product people see. In fact, it is the thinking and knowledge behind the final product that shows you know how to market smarter.