B2B Software companies & Consultative selling

04 octobre 2017 , team HFA

We have been working with a lot of B2B SAAS companies in the past month. And we had the opportunity to detect how hard it is to recruit talented sales.

Before headhunting, one item we always focus on is wether the client works with a traditional selling model, often called Transactional Selling, or with a Consultative Selling Process.

As a matter of fact, we studied a lot this question at High Flyers Agency as it deeply impacts our recruitment success.


Do you have customers or clients ?


Consultative selling is about suggesting a solution to a specific problem.

Traditional selling is about selling a specific product.


In the transactional model, the salesperson tries to finalize the deal as quickly as possible so he can then focus on the next customer.

Consultative sales is a selling method in which the salesperson spends time with the client to identify the problem the client is trying to solve and then recommends a solution that will specifically address that problem and meet his needs.

It is all about unveiling the underlying reasons the client has come in the first place.


Both methods of selling can result in purchases by clients/customers. But depending on your product, you need to focus on one of the selling methodology.


Why is consultative selling often underestimated by young fast growing companies ?

Hiring salespersons is difficult.

Hiring « Consultative sales » is even more difficult.

No need to say each methodology requires specific experiences and you usually can’t be efficient at both.  It is a question of « commercial DNA ».

Moreover, Consultative sales are globally much more expensive. It seems that only « strong » companies can afford them.


Why should you adopt Consultative selling ?

First, earning the client credibility is a topnotch priority if you want to sell your solution but also if you want long term commercial relationship. Having spent time with your client understanding his needs gives you a leverage on other sales. As soon as there will be a need, he will always reach out for a friendly hand. As a matter of fact, it will be yours. 

Second, you gain greater recognition from your client. When a client thanks you for what you have accomplish for and with them, you feel important as if, in a way, you played a part in the growth of your client’s success. Bringing more depth to your relationship with the client by investigating his needs, working hand in hand with him brings you automatically great personal satisfaction.

Third, you will have a great ROI. Happy clients talk to people and become the best ambassadors you could have ever imagine.


In case you wonder : what are the best practises for Consultative Selling ?

After talking with a lot of candidates, we ended up working on a specific « skills check list ». We always ask what would be their methodology to sell the B2B SAAS product called XYZ.

Here is the 7 steps intellectual path we are expecting them to restitute (thanks Ed Burghard !) :


1. Prepare the meeting


2. Create a bond :

► Find out what you have in common : make a priority to get to know the person as a person.

► Listen twice as much as you speak.

► Tips : take notes on personal information


3. Define the problem :

► What is the problem ?

► What other problems is it causing ? For whom ?

► How long have you had this problem ?

► What have you already tried that did not work ?

► Why did it fail ?

► What will happen if the problem continues ?


4. Define the objectives :

► Benefit drivers : what do you want instead ?

► Evaluation metrics : How will you know when you get it ?

► Visioning future state : What will the benefits be to the company for resolving the problem ?

► Insight into internal politics : Who will be affected by the solution and who will be judging if it was effective ?


5. Create your unique selling proposition to close the gap


• The problem is : (insert the specific problems)

• This causes you not to get : (insert expected results)

• What we will do is : (insert your tactic/solution)

• Success will be measured by : (insert their criteria)


6. Present your solution with a focus on the value it will deliver


• Answer those questions to your evaluator :

• Why are you in business ?

• What is the problem ?

• How will you solve it ?

• How will I know ?


7. Deliver on your promise 


Conclusion :

This checklist has helped us to hire very efficient sales who master the art of whispering in the client’s ears.

Remember, you are the architect of your own success. Just ask yourself this question : Do you want to be just the salesman selling whatever the product is as long as the objectives are reached or do you want to become a business partner who earns the client’s confidence on a long term relationship hence overreaching your goals?

 Who knows, you could even find a friend in your client!



Sources :





Let's talk together !

Complete the form, and we will get back to you (promise !).