“He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils; for time is the greatest innovator.” Sir Francis Bacon
Pretty straightforward…and in a single sentence the “father of modern science” succinctly diagnoses why your sales have stagnated or slowed.
The sales and marketing approach that worked so well in the 90s, and then began to slip a bit in effectiveness during the 00s, is now decreasingly effective.
In short, your biz dev is beset by “new evils” which scream out for “new remedies.”
Sell vs. Buy
How often are you “sold” something today? Rarely. How often do you respond to an unknown email or unsolicited phone call? Just a bit more frequently than NEVER!!??
You’ve changed habits. New tools (the internet and it’s enormous volume of readily available information) mean that you no longer allow yourself to be sold to – instead you buy. And that’s true whether you are wearing your consumer or B2B hat.
Depending on your personality, circumstances and role your buying process may be cautious or aggressive – but you’ll almost always follow a similar journey:
- start by describing your challenge / problem
- research solutions for that and identify companies / products / services that demonstrate expertise
- later, when you’re ready, you’ll begin to compare the offerings of those companies which were particularly insightful in helping define your problem and propose solutions
- eventually you’ll select one or two and reach out to the company for some information directly from a sales rep
You buy – you’re not sold to….just like every other B2B customer in the world today!
Or your proxy
Realistically you may be involved in all four steps above, or you may only jump in at step 3 or 4, or maybe you manage step 1 and then hand off the rest to an admin, staff engineer, etc.
Of course they’ll frame the requirement a bit differently than you, and approach it with a different set of considerations (probably not as broad a business based perspective but a narrower departmental/function focus.)
And again, it would be silly to assume that you are alone among the 28,000,000 (OK, an approximate number) SMBs in the country. Your prospects face the same challenges you do and have modified their buying process similarly.
You need to allow someone else’s admin or staff engineer to begin to buy your product too – before your counterpart gets involved at the end (maybe) to approve a capex.
But you still sell
Back to Bacon’s law – you’ve probably recognized the new evils.
- Stagnating or slowing sales
- longer sell cycles
- greater difficulty (as in IMPOSSIBLE) reaching decision makers
- non-linear project life cycles
- margin compression
- greater competition, etc.
And let me guess…you’ve probably added another sales rep or two. You’re holding them accountable to make more cold calls. You’re adding some direct mail, maybe more on-line directory listings and probably getting some sales coaching.
Are any of those “new remedies”?
Of course not.
But you’re resistant when some millennial tells you there’s a better way and starts tossing digital marketing jargon at you. Understandably. They have no experience in your world, industry, etc.
But what about Sir Francis? Think his advice might have some merit?
Want to talk about applying “new remedies” to the “evils” that have beset your B2B sales? First check out our free book on what’s changed, and then give us a call.
image – aeon