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Selling is about Buying

In earlier posts we looked at how B2B selling is becoming increasingly personal, so much so in fact that it now about ‘buying’ rather than ‘selling’, which reflects the ongoing shift in power from sellers. This is driving ‘Sales Transformation’ (the shift to buyer-centric sales approaches) in enterprises. However, organization culture and systems e.g. CRM, still have a way to go in gaining and using the personal insights these new approaches require, as exemplified by the general confusion about ‘Social’ in B2B.

Selling is now about interacting with people as people, not simply as contacts that reflect job positions in organizations, as who a person is impacts their decision making as much, if not more so, than what they are. That’s the theme of this post, but first let’s quickly review how selling has evolved to this point.

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Posted in: Business Relationships, Sales and Selling

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Sales Transformation and CRM

Three significant trends are re-defining Sales and the role of Sales Reps in the 21st Century:

1) Commoditization of products (and services) is diminishing their value as differentiators and empowering customers
2) The Internet has empowered Buyers to do their own research (they are no longer dependent on Sales Reps for product information)
3) Personalization of Business. Buyers are people with feelings, needs, likes, dislikes, bias etc and expect to be treated as such…and they can of course easily share their views. B2B is becoming increasingly social.

Today, how you sell is now more important than what you sell. Winning is about knowing who’s who in the zoo and interacting effectively with those that have power and influence in buying decisions.

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Posted in: Business Relationships, Sales and Selling

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Why Sales Reps don’t like using CRM

I should qualify from the outset that my focus here is B2B complex sales, hence my use of the term ‘Sales Rep’ rather than the more generic ‘Salesperson’. I consider myself less qualified to comment on non-complex sales and not at all qualified to discuss B2C…other than from a buyer’s perspective of course.

CRM systems are an invaluable business tool; revenues of $18Bn a year and growing (IDC) demonstrates the CRM industry is doing a lot that’s right. However, it doesn’t do everything well; one is helping Sales Reps in their primary role…selling. I say that because there is any amount of anecdotal, if not empirical, evidence that Sales Reps are not the most enthusiastic adopters of CRM. Surely if CRM helped Reps sell, they would happily use it? So what is the problem?

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Posted in: Business Relationships, Sales and Selling

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Why Measure Business Relationships?

Chances are your relationships with your customers, influencers, employees, partners, suppliers and any one else you depend upon are your most important asset; they represent your Relationship Capital. The problem with relationships is that you know they’re valuable, but do you know how valuable exactly? As they’re intangible you can’t measure them like you do […]

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Posted in: Business Relationships

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Relationship Capital

What is it? The network of people and organizations that represent an organization’s customers, partners, suppliers, employees etc, constitute its Relationship Capital. However, unlike other forms of Capital (Financial, Intellectual etc) it has been impossible to effectively measure, let alone manage this resource, like other assets. In 2004, Wharton professor, David Reibstein claimed in ‘Connecting […]

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Posted in: Business Relationships

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