How to Sell More by Selling Less
My friend (and very smart marketer) Debbie Breemeersch recently shared a great article on LinkedIn: The Secret To Sales Success: Stop Selling! The author is Atchison Frazer, CMO of Xangati. Frazer talked about his last two years at Cisco, when the company implemented go-to-market strategies that essentially flipped the “good selling” moniker on its head: “Stop selling –and start informing.”
Two great points made by Frazer have huge impact on B2B companies when they embrace them both as strategies and practices:
- Digitally market-enable your solutions so that customers can sell to themselves.
- Self-driven search trumps all other traditional categories of influence
I’ve written a fair amount on this subject and also always encourage our Fusion Marketing Partners’ clients to adopt the “sell more by selling less” mantra. The answer to creating a successful lead-to-revenue (L2R) machine is usually not to just throw more sales resources at the problem, but rather to create an environment where sales people are more efficient because they are dealing with prospects who are already at least partially motivated.
So how do you go from a company that is focused on trying to sell more to one that is focused on selling less, while increasing revenue and profits? Here are a few suggestions:
- As I said in a 2015 blog post, For B2B Companies, Selling Better is Not the Answer, your first goal needs to be: Make your company easy to discover.
- Make sure every prospect that visits your website (and they all do) has the information needed to educate and qualify themselves. The more information you can supply, the better — not only to educate your prospects, but also to satisfy the various search engine algorithms that will either put you in a good position to be found or consign you to a place hidden from all but the most persistent searchers.
- Use technology (CRM and marketing automation) to separate the prospects that are at the initial review stage from those that are ready to engage. Treat each of these disparate groups accordingly.
- Have the right resources (people, technology and content) available to work with the prospect at the right stage of the buyer journey.
- Speaking of the buyer journey, make sure you map this out, including items like: buyer stakeholders, marketing and sales touchpoints, team roles/responsibilities and content/messaging.
We sometimes run into situations where the B2B sales and marketing functions are led by an executive who believes in the hard-sell, “always be closing” approach. Some of these individuals are professionals who are really good at what they do. But in a sense, they are practicing strategies better suited to the past, where prospects were less informed and had fewer digital options to peruse prior to engaging with you.