Customers are buying differently so you have to sell differently. The way you sell differently is to synchronize all selling activities to the market’s specific buying process.
This is what we call Third Generation Selling.
Driven by dramatic changes in how customers buy, the formula for successful selling has changed like never before. Customers, thanks largely to the internet, are now more empowered with more information and more choice. They also have less time and resources to invest in new ideas. Prior successful selling methods are simply inadequate as power has shifted from the seller to the buyer. Today we have to step up to a new way of selling. Third Generation Selling is about understanding where a customer is in their specific buying process, from inception to implementation, and then bringing an organization’s resources to bear upon that buying process so that positive value is created for both the customer and the supplier.
Stepping up to Third Generation Selling
There are three steps to Third Generation Selling readiness:
RapidBuild™ workshops walk through these three steps as a series, or as one integrated, facilitated session conducted on your premises to prepare the organization to step up to the performance and results of third generation selling.
All RapidBuild™ workshops are facilitated by certified consultants and are conducted with a small (maximum eight) group of experts from across the client’s organization. Facilitation methods and tools are used that enable brainstorming and large amounts of information to be quickly synthesized and assessed. A unique approach is used to directly capture the team’s thoughts into a series of interactive charts and tables that allow for easy access, review, and update. It also guarantees that the team’s output is immediately documented and accessible for wide reference.
The result of the RapidBuild™ workshops is a 3g Sales Roadmap that clearly identifies the best practice selling activities for each step of the sales process, aligned to the target market’s specific buying process and the optimal market engagement strategy.
RapidBuild™ 1: Decoding the Customer’s Buying Process
Different markets buy in different ways. Some buyers need to take the time to understand their needs, educate themselves about options, and may be conduct in-depth cost-benefit analyses. In other cases, buyers may be educated and believe that they know and understand their needs and alternatives. It is vitally important that we understand our target market’s buying process so that we can synchronize the selling to engage effectively and successfully in that buying process.
The flow and topics of this workshop include the following
- Identifying the Target Market
The starting point is to gain clarity around the target market:
- Geography, Industry, Sector
- Defining characteristics
- Addressable size
- Considering What the Buyer Is Buying
Once the target market has been identified the overall buying process can start to be examined. This forms the foundation of understanding why a buyer may have interest in the company’s offering, and what the high level factors are that would motivate a buyer to invest in such an offering.
- What value is a buyer looking for?
- What priority would this be?
- What would constitute success and how would this be measured?
- What alternatives may they be faced with to achieve their goals?
- Who are the key players involved in the buying process?
- What are the key dependencies for their success?
- What event or activities trigger the buying process?
- Mapping the Buying Process
Building upon the foundation of understanding what the buyer is buying, and why they may buy, the steps of the end-to-end buying process are then mapped. This is one of the critical principles behind third generation selling, as a buyer’s motivation and needs change as they move through the steps of their buying process. As buyers no longer need to engage with a seller early in their buying process, they can often be well into their buying process before engaging with a sales person. Third generation selling is based upon understanding a specific market’s buying process and then synchronizing the selling for maximum impact on that buying process.
- Identify all the key activities that a customer would likely engage in across their end-to-end buying process
- Ranking and ordering these activities into a series of logical and discrete buying steps
- Key Players
Invariably as the buyer moves through their buying process different players from across their organization will become more, or less, involved. Each of these different players will likely have different motivations and needs. For this reason it is important to understand who, from a customer’s organization, is likely to be involved in the various steps of the buying process.
- Identifying the key players that will play a role through the steps of the buying process
- Categorizing these key players in terms of their dominant market maturation style
- Ranking and ordering the relative involvement of each of the key players across the steps of the buying process
- Buying Concerns
Buying Concerns are what motivates individuals through the steps of a buying process to ultimately invest in a supplier’s offerings. Buying concerns can range from positive aspects of looking for value such as increased revenue or decreased cost, to negative pressures such as risk and fear. Third generation selling is positioning an offering to address a specific market’s concerns rather than simply presenting value propositions that may or may not address specific customer needs and wants.
- Identify this market’s likely buying concerns
- Rank the relative importance of these concerns to the key players
- Order these buying concerns in terms of their relative importance at the steps of the buying process
- Buying Style
Using 3g Selling’s 4-Quadrant model of buying styles the target market’s buying style is identified. The buying style and its associated characteristics identify the factors that influence the target market to buy in certain primary ways. The buying style is considered to be the primary method by which customers perceive if they believe they have a choice of suppliers, or if there is a certain uniqueness of one offering over another. It is also the buying style that determines if a customer is looking for assistance in identifying what they need to acquire, or if they believe that they are educated to the extent that they believe that they know what they need.
- Identify the factors that are causing the target market to buy in different ways
- Consider if these factors change during the course of the buying process or as a result of different players involvement in that buying process
- Identify the target market’s dominant buying style
RapidBuild™ 2: Crafting the Selling Strategy
Sales strategy is more often associated with a single sales opportunity. Third generation selling calls for an overall organizational selling strategy. Rather than allow each sales person to determine how best to engage in a specific market, largely by trial and error, an organizational selling strategy aligns and coordinates the selling team to an effective and designed approach.
The flow and topics of this workshop include the following:
- Value Propositions
- Indentify and list all the possible value propositions that the offering can deliver to the target market
- Rank the relative value that each of these value propositions would likely deliver to the target market
- Rank the uniqueness that the target market is likely to consider for this offering relative to the other alternatives that they may be faced with
- Assess and correlate each value proposition to the previously identified target market’s buying concerns
- Review and consider areas of high and low correlation between the offered value propositions and the required buying concerns
- Sales Engagement Strategy
- Consider the 4-Q Buying Style model and determine in which of the four quadrants the selling should be focused
- Consider how the market would be shifted to this style of buying if it is not already the dominant buying style
- Consider the strategy for responding to market opportunity in the remaining three quadrants
- Consider the step of the buying process where sales engagement should occur
- Consider how engagement will be maintained and the selling strategy implemented across the steps of the buying process
- Consider and identify the critical success factors for success across the steps of the selling and buying process
RapidBuild™ 3: 3g Sales Roadmap Design
Having mapped the buying process and crafted the organizational selling strategy, a sales process that synchronizes the selling to the buying can now be developed. The simple objective of the synchronized sales process is to deliberately position to be in front of the right person, at the right time, with the right message.
The flow and topics of this workshop include the following:
- Work Flow
- For each step in the buying process determine the selling activities that will result in favorably impacting that process
- For each step in the buying process determine the selling activities that comprise the selling imperatives
- Determine the optimal workflow that will link the buying and selling process
- Sales Activities
- Critically examine the selling activities that are required through the stages of the end-to-end buying process
- Delineate the selling activities into a series of sales process steps to synchronize to the buying process steps
- Sales Strategy
- Ensure that the chosen sales strategy materializes in the selling activities of the sales process steps
- Determine the interlocks, or optimal exit criteria, for each step of the sales process
- Roles and Responsibilities
- Determine the step owner for each of the steps of the defined sales process
- Determine key supporting roles
- For each supporting role, identify key activities for each step of the sales process