In our past conversations with The Sales Guy, he reminded us of the important role the calendar plays in a supplier’s sales strategy and execution. So as we start a new calendar year, we caught up with TSG to see what we should expect our sales counterparts to be focused on right now…
BMP: Assuming a supplier closes their books at the end of December, what are their sales teams focused on right now? Is this when most sales people get their quotas, and therefore their compensation-motivated sales priorities? What does the beginning of a new fiscal year mean to sales?
TSG: Great question regarding sales activity at the start of a new year. At this time sales people are waiting to get their new quota. Unfortunately, quotas are rarely finalized for the start of a new year. There is also anticipation of the new compensation plan; what changes have occurred that will require changed behavior to maximize performance and revenue/commissions? Finally, sales people need to find out if their role and/or account list have changed.
To round out our early look at sales and procurement for 2012, here are a few predictions made by sales experts that relate to their interaction with procurement:
As buying continues to change and evolve, sales organizations are going to continue to work to come up with ways to get in front of the buying cycle. (S. Anthony Iannarino, The Sales Blog)
Feature and benefit selling is dead. “Prove it to me” selling will dominate as buyers become more weary of benefit claims made by companies and increasingly more choice is available in the market. (Colleen Francis, Engage Selling Solutions)
Salespeople are going to be spending a large amount of time with clients talking about pricing. After several years of companies willingly making discounts to secure sales and putting off price increases, the time has now come to move forward on pricing. Salespeople will have to recondition themselves to learn how to sell without offering a discount and, at the same time, implement a price increase. (Mark Hunter, The Sales Hunter)
With the acceleration of internet access and the prowess of the business consumer in 2012, the commercial buyer will complete 25% of the buying process before speaking with a salesperson. Value mapping, top 5 list creation and even reference checking via social media websites and blogs will mean that most vendors will already have had their products positioned into (or out of) the buyers “radar.” (Rich Chiarello, Sandler Training)
Messaging will continue to evolve from sales-centric to buyer-centric. It is increasingly less important for inside sales reps (ISRs) to understand every nuance of their product and market, and increasingly more important for them to understand a day in the life of their buyers. (Trish Bertuzzi, The Bridge Group)
If you are interested in the idea of knowing more about what sales teams are up to at this time of the year, there is an event this Wednesday, January 18th about sales’ vision for 2012 being run by the TAS Group. We will be in attendance and will share our notes and observations in next week’s Flip Side post.