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ATD Blog

Emerging Trends in Sales Success


Mon Jan 31 2011


Forrester Research is seeing many high-tech sales organizations adapting their go-to-market approach to more effectively model customers and help the sales team have more valuable sales conversations. While many people in the blogosphere attribute these types of activities to "the economy," Forrester believes these activities are a response to an emerging vendor caste system that many buyers have.

In other words, buyers view sellers as either providing value, or not.


Those who provide value are seen as more trusted partners, and others who don't provide are relegated to the commodity pile. As a result, salespeople and sales managers must transform their sales approach to engage in new ways designed to increase the overall value of the relationship.

Essentially, what this means is:

"to bridge the vendor-to-buyer disconnect, sales leaders are realizing that they need to fundamentally change their sales channel. It's not just about sales process anymore; it's about changing sales team behavior to truly align to buyer demands."

To get to that point, sales organizations are partnering with marketing to align the value they communicate with buyers to ensure that communication is timely, relevant, and in context.

In order to focus on the customer, sales and marketing teams need to ask these three questions:

  • Why is there a problem and who is involved in solving it? Sales and marketing should work together to create a hierarchy of business issues. These issues should correspond to the business theme and the typical customer roles that are responsible for addressing them. The relationships between roles and business issues should be cross indexed into a business driver matrix.

  • How should the customer solve it? Sales and marketing should create a framework that organizes all of the activities customers must perform to achieve their goals - independent of your products or services. For example, driving adoption for a new service requires internal marketing, something for which you could offer help outside of your traditional product set.

  • When will you engage with the customer? Sales and marketing teams can work together to break the customers' problem-solving processes down into a set of logical decision gates. These can be used to gain internal agreement required to advance from one decision stage to the next.

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