George R. Khayat | Partner
15th April, 2019
The new roles of salespeople
The ability to motivate prospects, the development of partnerships, the need for a more customer-oriented culture, and the developments in information technology, as well as many other reasons, have altered the profile of the sales professional and the effectiveness of people working in a sales role. But the ultimate objective remains: to be able to say the right things, in the right style, to the right person, at the right time.
So what does this new breed of salesperson look like? For a start, the new salesperson style has progressed from the traditional 'lone ranger' style of selling to a more team-based consultative style. Our research shows that a consultative salesperson needs to fulfill three basic roles: business consultant, strategic orchestrator and long-term ally.
By combining all three roles, salespeople are more able to develop and maintain long-term relationships with clients. At the same time, organizations need to ensure that they provide their salespeople with the vital support systems and training tools that enable them to make the most of their knowledge and skills.
1) Business consultant
Gone are the days in which a salesperson could simply walk into an office, establish a good rapport with the client, show a thorough knowledge of their products and services, and clinch the sale. Nowadays, the emphasis is on establishing long-term mutually beneficial relationships. To achieve this, the salesperson needs to earn the right to continue discussions with the client. Before they can proceed to sell their products or services, the salesperson needs to reassure the client of their integrity, reliability, and ability to understand and recommend the appropriate solution. They can do this by demonstrating;
2) Strategic orchestrator
To fulfill this role, the salesperson needs to be seen as the key person responsible for engineering the appropriate solution. This involves co-coordinating all of the information, resources and activities needed to support customers before, during and after the sale. It also involves enlisting support from specialist colleagues and hence, moving away from the "lone ranger" approach.
According to research, effective strategic orchestrators have mastered the following competencies:
Customers of strategic orchestrators express a high level of confidence in the salesperson and the salesperson’s organization. This increased confidence can lead to faster buying decisions, increased repeat business, and strengthened links between customer and supplier organizations. Working as strategic orchestrators, salespeople are also able to develop their organization’s capacity for team selling.
3) Long-term ally
Since the key to differentiation is in forging closer links with clients, the role of a long-term ally is a crucial one. Once the salesperson has earned this right, it is important to develop and maintain the relationship.
As the term suggests, acting as a long-term ally involves maintaining contact with the client even when there is no immediate prospect for a sale. It also suggests that the salesperson needs to be committed to the long-term development of the relationship. Our research shows that top salespeople demonstrate this commitment by continuously looking for ways to:
At the end of the day, taking a long-term approach proves more profitable since the customer will recognize that the salesperson is taking a committed interest, and in so doing, is giving honest and open advice. This inevitably encourages the customer to trust the salesperson and to view him or her as a colleague rather than an opponent.
In summary: Long-term allies and mutually beneficial agreements
Supplier organizations must be willing to:
Buyer organizations must be willing to:
Some references: “Solution Selling” (Bosworth, Mc GrawHill); “Management of the Sales Force” (Buskirk and Stanton, Mc GrawHill)
Mr. George Khayat is a partner with Meirc Training & Consulting. He holds a bachelor of science in management from the Lebanese American University, a master in marketing and communication from ESCP-EAP University in France, and is currently completing a master of science in management from St. Joseph University in Beirut. George is a certified marketing analyst (The Graduate Board of Management, USA), a chartered marketer (Chartered Institute of Marketing, UK), a certified Lego® Serious Play® method facilitator, and a certified sales professional (Sales Training International, USA). He is also certified in Action Selling® (USA) and Guerrilla Marketing (Australia).More