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We’re not the disruptors…It’s already happened!

How the 3 Deadly C’s Have Changed Sales Forever

After explaining what we do to an interested connector last week, one of our partners got the old “Wow, you guys are real disruptors!” Without really thinking, Paul quickly snapped back, “We are NOT disruptors! The disruption has already happened, we’re really just helping people get through it.” This is spot on and positioning is important. If you’re creating disruption, that’s one thing but when it’s already happened, doing nothing is the riskiest thing you could ever do.

Today’s age of acceleration has unleashed what we call the 3 Deadly C’s – Commoditization, Consensus Decision Making, and Compressed Selling Time. The real impact is beginning to rear its ugly head and sales will forever and always be different. What follows serves as more than your warning signal. I think it’s helpful to understand the 3 Deadly C’s a bit more in-depth and more importantly, what you must start doing to stay relevant and vital.

What’s happening?

While the world has been focused on the impact of the internet in the B2C space, particularly in retail where it makes headlines daily, the internet’s impact on B2B has been equally aggressive.

When combined with today’s age of acceleration, where not just the rate of change is accelerating but the speed of the rate is accelerating at the same time, the disruption is here.

You’re already feeling the disruption in the following ways:

  • You’re not closing the deals you feel you deserve
  • It’s taking longer than ever to get a decision
  • You keep getting squeezed on pricing

Today’s buyer buys differently and selling organizations are not adjusting to these changes fast enough. Sales teams are confronted with the 3 Deadly Cs – Commoditization, Consensus Decision Making and Compressed Selling Time; everyone looks and sounds the same, decision-making teams keep getting bigger (now averaging 6.8 people) and they’re ignoring your salespeople until the very end of the buying journey. What does this mean to you?

The 3 Deadly C’s

Commoditization – to your buyer everyone looks the same, sounds the same and acts the same. Once that happens it’s just a race to the bottom.

Consensus decision making – Buying teams keep getting bigger (now averaging 6.8 people) and when everyone shows up with their own agenda, you lose priority. The easiest thing for them to do is nothing…

Compressed selling time – 70% of your buyer’s journey is complete before you’re invited in; leaving you with less time than ever to influence a decision. You swing and miss at your moment of truth.

Today, decisions are made in large teams. Your competition has the exact same level of access that you do and just because you have good habits (showing up on time, always being responsive, etc) doesn’t matter because your buyer isn’t letting you in until they’re nearly done with their decision process. On top of it all, everyone they do invite in all seems the same! This is why deals are coming down to price, or making no decision at all.

So, what can be done?

We know that freezing up and doing nothing is not the answer. And while this is a daunting journey, one that will end up driving change within and around your team, let’s start with the most important thing you and your team must do.

The first step to overcoming the 3 Deadly C’s is to clearly and consistency communicate “Why You, Why Now?” What are the compelling reasons why someone should choose you? I mean REAL reasons, not the “Our people make the difference” or “We’ve been in business for 100 years” reasons. Not only does everyone say those same things, further driving commoditization, but the part of your buyer’s brain that makes decisions doesn’t know what to do with that information. So, it ignores it.

The “Why now?” is a new requirement. With bigger decision-making teams, everyone is bringing their own priorities to the table. So now, you not only have to defeat your direct competitors with your “Why you”, to win the priority game and you have to clearly address why they should do something now. If you can’t win that one, you’ll get the “good news/bad news response… “We liked your proposal the best, buuuuuuut…we’re not going to do anything at all right now.”

Not a win.

You can’t rely on sales training tactics that were developed before the internet, they were created for a world that no longer exists. And convention sales presentations that focus on facts, figures, features and benefits do not trigger your buyer to act.

You need to reframe your approach to sell the way today’s buyer buys:

  • Align consensus decision-making team around a single, mutual pain point to create priority that pushes your deal forward.
  • Implement prescriptive messaging at the right time along each step of your buyer’s journey that answers Why You, Why Now, and puts you back in control of the sale.
  • Leverage decision-making science to win the prospect’s brain in the first 30-seconds of your pitch.

The forces of the Deadly C’s are constantly working against your vitality. If market share, revenue, or margin are flat or decreasing, its an indicator that your organization is becoming irrelevant. Irrelevancy results in commoditization, where price becomes the only differentiator between you and your competition.

By leveraging Decision Science to create brain-friendly messaging that answers “Why You, Why Now?” you will see immediate impact on revenue, margin, and market share.

Ready to win more now? Unlock the tools that will help your sales team close more deals faster in today’s buying climate.

Capitalize in the VOID – Why Salespeople Fail

Why are so many salespeople struggling? I have answered this several times, each time, a little different. Here is a consolidated response based on those answers…

“If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.”

Jack Welch

Selling has not changed at the same rate buying has changed… Does that sound familiar?

That point, when the buyer first engages with the seller is what we call The Void. This is where deals are won or lost. It only takes a fraction of a second for the buyer to make a decision, but Salespeople aren’t equipped with the right messaging or tools to capitalize in The Void. Salespeople use antiquated techniques because that is what they’ve been trained to do by sales trainers. These sales training systems were developed 40+ years ago for a world that no longer exists. The buyer has evolved, but sales hasn’t and it is saddling your sales team with three distinct disadvantages.

Disadvantage #1 – To your prospect, you’re all the same

The first thing to consider is that the buying process has radically changed over the last 20 years. Before today’s age of accelerations, buyers relied on sellers as their source of information. Today buyers ignore salespeople for as long as possible, completing nearly 70% of their buying process before engaging a salesperson. Similar to what we have seen in the retail space where consumers are less reliant on the in-store experience, B2B buyers are using the Internet and other methods of research to form their interpretation and opinions on a narrowed-down list of potential vendors based on their needs before they ever talk to the seller. The bad news: at the point of engagement, they now believe you and your competitors are all the same.

Disadvantage #2 – You get one shot

Once engaged, the seller is now introduced to their 2nd disadvantage, being relegated to a single conversation or meeting in order to get a pass to the next. That means one presentation to make an impact and distinguish themselves from their competitors or risk being eliminated from consideration. RPG refers to this moment of truth, this one or done, as The Void. It is that transition point in the buyer’s journey moving from research to solution consideration. The pressure is on and if sales teams don’t deliver, they’re done.  

Disadvantage #3 – The easiest decision is to do nothing

Can you win the battle and still lose the war?? Absolutely!

It’s one thing to win the “Why you” battle, where you show superior capability and performance against your direct competitors. How is your team at establishing priority? With B2B decision teams now averaging 6.8 people, your salespeople have to contend with each meeting participant bringing their own priorities to the table. Most aren’t capable of winning the “Why now” war.

(CSO Insights)

These 3 disadvantages are the direct result of what we, at RPG, call the Three Deadly Cs: Commoditization, Consensus Decision Making and Compressed Selling Time; everybody looks, sounds and acts the same, decision-making teams keep getting bigger and your salespeople are ignored until the very end of the buying journey.

Your sales team is being sent to the battlefield carrying a plastic knife.

Here’s an epiphany… sales isn’t to fault, not entirely anyway. This is a problem that must be solved by the company. Since the buyer is ignoring or blocking access, for the first 70% of their journey, then marketing holds as much, or more, of the burden of failure as the sales team does. Once sales is allowed in, they’re positioned for failure. They’re stuck with the following:

  • Antiquated training — 7 of 8 sales training programs developed before the Internet or cell phone was invented
  • Wrong messaging to spark curiosity, create differentiation, and drive priority — these are not keywords or website copy!
  • Wrong selling tools to pitch and engage the brain — this should not be created by the marketing team

In order to stay relevant and keep pace with buying committees, your sales team must contend with The Void. The place to start is aligning the entire team so they can quickly and easily articulate “Why you, Why Now?”

Want to learn more about the toolset that targets the way today’s buyer buys? Let’s schedule a 15-minute chat to see if the Revenue Acceleration Program is right for your team.