Solution Sales Reps are Born, Not Made
By the time a prospect engages a sales rep they are highly educated and ask questions such as:
- How would this work for my firm?
- How could this solution integrate with my specific set of technologies?
- How this could be deployed internationally across many time zones and languages?
Prospect questions are not trivial. They are difficult to anticipate and answer. Sales managers find it hard (if even possible) to document standard questions and answers as each customer has a different set of technologies, international issues, security issues, privacy issues, currency issues etc.
Some Sales Reps Thrive, Others Continually Struggle
Yet, despite increased complexity there are sales reps that thrive. They love the chance to learn a customer’s environment. They are a wealth of knowledge and are somehow able to discuss at a strategic level how their solutions could be implemented into a customer environment at many levels. These Sales Reps are known as Solution (or Enterprise) Sales Reps. They craft a custom solution for each customer.
As successful businesses mature they add product lines, connect them as solution sets and encourage customers to purchase several products to implement as a solution. As this happens, sales become more complex and require customization. This is the inflection point where sales managers begin to see historically top performers begin to struggle. Instead of a quick sale, Product Sales Reps encounter complex questions that require research and a mindset that loves the chance to assimilate the complex requirements and create a custom solution.
Mindset Differences: Product Sales vs. Solution Sales Reps
Product Sales Reps don't like having to research and answer a constant barrage of “one off” questions. These questions get in the way of selling products. On the other hand, Born Solution Sales Reps find the questions intriguing. The resulting need to learn and find the answers is invigorating and exercises their brain.
When moving from product to solution selling, is more training an answer? In an upcoming post, I'll address this question and provide practical steps to optimize sales performance when making the transition by analytically measuring mindset.
Greta Roberts is CEO of Talent Analytics, Corp, a leader in using analytics to optimize employee performance directly inside Salesforce.com as well as other business applications. Follow @TalentAnalytics on Twitter to learn more.
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