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ATD Blog

One Size – Who Does It Really Fit?


Tue Jul 23 2013


Sales Performance and Productivity Series – post 4 of 4. For Post 1, Post 2, and Post 3 follow Links.

One Size – Who Does It Really Fit?-bbd9db454cd98e28bf613b79eaff34851d013e41360963eddf53141a046065d4

The problem with a “one size fits all” strategy is that it only fits only one size.  In reality, every customer, prospect, and sales opportunity is different. Statements abound in the B2B sales space about how “the buyer” is in control of the buying process or that “the buyer” is 34 percent to 72 percent of the way through their buying process before connecting with a salesperson. The implication being that all buyers behave in the same way, and that all salespeople need to be provocative, consultative, aggressive, insightful, or solution-oriented to succeed with the “new buyer”—depending on the source.


Indeed, the reality about buyer behavior is:

  • Every buyer makes every decision differently every time.

  • Every sales organization offers something completely different to the market and approaches their customers and prospects differently.

What you sell is just as different

Spanning the continuum from products to solutions is the fact that every sales organization sells something different, and it is perceived differently in the eyes of their customer, prospects, and market. At one extreme is the pure product, which is clearly defined by size, weight, performance attributes, and cost.

How a salesperson approaches, connects, and succeeds with a product in their market segment is completely different than sales reps who are selling a solution that requires configuration, customization, and integration to the individual customer’s specifications.

  • For some customers “what you sell” may be viewed as a product, while to others you are the solution. You are an established provider to some, a known name to others and a completely new name to still more.

  • “What you sell” also determines to large degree “who you sell” your product to. Approaching a C-level executive with a strategic solution is different than selling into purchasing as a supplier.

  • The cost of the “what you sell” is also connected to the rigor and discipline the customer will exercise when making their decision. Very expensive products can be as complex and time-consuming to sell as totally customized solutions. Every buyer-seller situation is different.

With the majority of market forces outside of their control, sales leaders must make foundational decisions regarding the customer management strategies their sales force will employ to identify opportunities, manage opportunities and manage relationships.


With different sales roles, serving different market segments, the reality is that not only does one size not fit all when it comes to the sales profession, but that most sales organizations have different customer management challenges in each of their market segments. Only the sales leader can decide how they will connect with customers. And depending on the fit, success will follow.

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