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Challenging Approach to Increasing Sales Effectiveness in B2B

26/ 04/ 2017
  Author: Svitlana Nemyria, CEO SHL Ukraine, PhD, Certified coach at CCU, AMA, MDI, EBA HR Committee Board member for 2017 The sales world has changed dramatically during last years. If earlier we compete in speed of engagement and better sales process, now we compete against customers’ ability to learn on their own and “unteaching” them through commercial interactions (negotiations, meetings, marketing materials, etc.). Selling dynamics also becomes more flexible, and demands to convincing the customers to change their behavior and disrupting customer’s learning through insights. So now the successful professional, working with customers, is called Challenger. All these conditions demand from our Challenger to build constructive tension and to develop the Challenger Skills in Teaching, Tailoring and Taking Control steps of selling process. It means that during Teaching he offers customer the unique perspective by new facts and excels in two-way communication skills. During Tailoring he identifies and understands the customer economic drivers, knows, how exactly his products can positively influence effectiveness and development of customer’s business. And on Taking Control step he drives deal momentum and demonstrates value. These behaviors lead to change core competencies which help the Challenger to be effective. We can divide demanded competencies in two groups, such as Judgment and Thinking (Challenger IQ) and Influencing (Challenger EQ). Let’s use SHL Universal Competency Framework to break down those groups in competencies. The Challenger IQ consists of: Analyzing Learning and Researching Creating and Innovating Formulating Strategies and Concepts. The Challenger EQ consists of: Relating and Networking Persuading and Influencing Presenting and Communicating Adapting and Responding to Change. Selling process includes contact with different buyers on clients side. And it’s crucial to identify buyers who help to drive the buying decision forward. CEB latest research “The Challenger Customer” reveals that being a Challenger seller isn’t enough, the success or failure also depends on who is getting challenged within customer organisation. Except of Blockers (the ones, who stop the sale in the very beginning of it), there are two groups of buyers, which are classified based on their behavior during selling process. Some excel at rallying their organizations around a purchase and ultimately driving consensus, focus on the organizational agenda, we refer to these profiles as Mobilizers. Others, however, willingly talk to sales representatives but can’t actually move a purchase decision forward, we call them Talkers. Typical sales behaviors such as deep discovery questioning and engaging them in the sales process can be off-putting to Mobilizers. It’s important to engage Mobilizers on their own terms in order to drive consensus around change. Features of Mobilizer: - independent, - self – sufficient, - strong – willed, - driven, - skeptical, - focused. Challengers not only target but invest more time in the Mobilizers. It doesn’t mean that they do not engage at all with Talkers; it’s just that they do not invest much time with them. Challengers: know that Mobilizers are best able to drive and secure organizational commitment on a purchase, instinctively recognize if they’re dealing with a Mobilizer or Talker, and quickly decide whether to engage or keep hunting for a better contact, orient toward stakeholders who are best able to drive change. Thus, developed Challenger competencies and focus on right choice of customer stakeholder lead to better sales results in complex B2B sales.

Author: Svitlana Nemyria, CEO SHL Ukraine, PhD, Certified coach at CCU, AMA, MDI, EBA HR Committee Board member for 2017

The sales world has changed dramatically during last years. If earlier we compete in speed of engagement and better sales process, now we compete against customers’ ability to learn on their own and “unteaching” them through commercial interactions (negotiations, meetings, marketing materials, etc.).

Selling dynamics also becomes more flexible, and demands to convincing the customers to change their behavior and disrupting customer’s learning through insights. So now the successful professional, working with customers, is called Challenger.

All these conditions demand from our Challenger to build constructive tension and to develop the Challenger Skills in Teaching, Tailoring and Taking Control steps of selling process.

It means that during Teaching he offers customer the unique perspective by new facts and excels in two-way communication skills.

During Tailoring he identifies and understands the customer economic drivers, knows, how exactly his products can positively influence effectiveness and development of customer’s business.

And on Taking Control step he drives deal momentum and demonstrates value.

These behaviors lead to change core competencies which help the Challenger to be effective. We can divide demanded competencies in two groups, such as Judgment and Thinking (Challenger IQ) and Influencing (Challenger EQ).

Let’s use SHL Universal Competency Framework to break down those groups in competencies. The Challenger IQ consists of:

  • Analyzing
  • Learning and Researching
  • Creating and Innovating
  • Formulating Strategies and Concepts.

The Challenger EQ consists of:

  • Relating and Networking
  • Persuading and Influencing
  • Presenting and Communicating
  • Adapting and Responding to Change.

Selling process includes contact with different buyers on clients side. And it’s crucial to identify buyers who help to drive the buying decision forward. CEB latest research “The Challenger Customer” reveals that being a Challenger seller isn’t enough, the success or failure also depends on who is getting challenged within customer organisation.

Except of Blockers (the ones, who stop the sale in the very beginning of it), there are two groups of buyers, which are classified based on their behavior during selling process. Some excel at rallying their organizations around a purchase and ultimately driving consensus, focus on the organizational agenda, we refer to these profiles as Mobilizers.

Others, however, willingly talk to sales representatives but can’t actually move a purchase decision forward, we call them Talkers.

Typical sales behaviors such as deep discovery questioning and engaging them in the sales process can be off-putting to Mobilizers. It’s important to engage Mobilizers on their own terms in order to drive consensus around change. Features of Mobilizer: – independent, – self – sufficient, – strong – willed, – driven, – skeptical, – focused.

Challengers not only target but invest more time in the Mobilizers. It doesn’t mean that they do not engage at all with Talkers; it’s just that they do not invest much time with them.

Challengers:

  • know that Mobilizers are best able to drive and secure organizational commitment on a purchase,
  • instinctively recognize if they’re dealing with a Mobilizer or Talker, and quickly decide whether to engage or keep hunting for a better contact,
  • orient toward stakeholders who are best able to drive change.

Thus, developed Challenger competencies and focus on right choice of customer stakeholder lead to better sales results in complex B2B sales.

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