Dear Consultative Sales Professionals:
We’ve been left in the cold. As our SDRs and inside sales personnel move closer to the marketing side of the house and our prospective buyers require more touchpoints before making a decision, the delta between us and the prospective buyers widens.
This means that we have to start taking it upon ourselves to redefine the consultative sales process. Our jobs used to be: give a demo with strong discovery questions, possibly do it a few more times and then begin the closing process.
Now, we essentially need to have our own marketing and sales process. Because by the time a qualified prospect gets into our inbox, neither us or the prospect can remember what exactly the value proposition was in the first place.
It’s no secret that the role of a consultative sales professional is to be a trusted advisor, but how do you accomplish this when your prospect can Google 99% of what they need before they even speak to you?
The answer is that you must become perceived as a respected (not liked) thought leader by your prospects. No, you don’t need to call yourself a “thought leader” but you must be perceived as one in the space in which you sell.
You’re not the figurehead of your company like the CEO is...but you do need to help your prospective buyer cut through the noise and engineer a solution that helps them solve their business problem.
“But, Christien, shouldn’t my SDR and AE teams have done that already?”
In short, the answer is ideally.
In reality, the answer is that the gap between the SDR and the sales professionals is widening because the buying cycle for most vendors now includes potentially 10 touchpoints and multiple champions. Plus, there are over 7,000 SaaS products on the market with a capitalization rate of $76 billion. I’m not a great math student, but that’s a lot of new SaaS coming out every single day.
Translation: It’s a buyer’s market. By the time, they’re ready to buy something, someone on the buying committee has researched some other SaaS product that has 1 more feature than yours. It’s hard enough staying atop what’s being released each week with your own product much less that of your competition.
The only card that you have to play is being their trusted (read: expert) business consultant. You may be seen as a “sales consultant” for your company, but you need to position yourself as a trusted and respected business consultant by your buyer.