We have been working with a lot of B2B SaaS companies in the past months. And we had the opportunity to detect how hard it is to recruit talented sales people.
Before we start headhunting, we always focus on is whether the client works with a traditional selling model, often called Transactional Selling, or with a Consultative Selling Process.
As a matter of fact, this question is key at High Flyers Agency as it deeply impacts 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 that meets his or her needs.
It is all about unveiling the underlying reasons the client has come to your product in the first place.
Both methods of selling can result in purchases from clients/customers. But depending on your product, you need to focus on one or more selling methodologies.
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
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 trust is a topnotch priority if you want to sell your solution but also if you want long term commercial relationship. Truly understanding the client’s needs gives you leverage over other salespeople. As soon as there will be a need, he will always reach out for a friendly helping 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 accomplished 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.
So what are the best practices for Consultative Selling?
After talking with a lot of candidates, we ended up working on a specific “skills checklist”. We always ask about their methodology to sell the B2B SaaS product called XYZ.
Here are the 7 steps intellectual path we use as a benchmark (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.
- Tip: take notes on personal information
3. Define the problem :
- What is the problem?
- What other problems are caused as a result? For whom?
- How long have they had this problem?
- What have they 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
Fill in these questions with your client in mind:
- 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
Show your client you understand them:
- Why are you in business?
- What is the problem?
- How will you solve it?
- How will I know?
7. Deliver on your promise
This checklist has helped us to hire very efficient salespeople who master the art of nudging the client in the right direction.
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!
Looking for a new sales challenge? Check out our opportunities here!
Have the SaaS Sales DNA? Check out our opportunities here.
Scaling your SaaS sales team? Access our talent community here.