There is a spectrum of selling from “brains for hire” to “commodity product”. “Brains for hire” requires the “seller-doer” model where the selling professional has both subject matter expertise and services delivery expertise. A typical example of this is the consulting partner at a management consulting firm. Solution selling is in the middle of this spectrum and requires consultative selling, yet not necessarily a “seller-doer” model. In this post, we explore 10 attributes of services and solution selling.
10 Attributes of Services and Solution Selling
- Buy-sell Process Orchestration. Services and solution sales processes are complex. Sellers must understand the buyer’s process and must orchestrate the sales process end-to-end.
- Good Selling. While there are various styles of selling, sales ‘DNA’ is critical, including the ability to listen effectively, be empathetic and communicate persuasively. Good selling involves speaking “different languages” at different levels and roles in the buyer organization.
- Making the initial approach. Sales won’t happen unless doors are opened. Prospecting and initializing sales requires an outbound direct and active approach that is tailored and 1:1. Modern solution selling also involves the effective use of digital tools to build relationship intelligence, increase engagement and develop insights.
- Facilitating sales meetings. Good sales meetings have a single sales goal and are facilitated effectively at each stage of the buy and sell process. Solution sellers ‘hold court’ and facilitate with both personal content and leadership and they are organized with a clear agenda and next steps.
- Team selling. In complex solution and services sales, team selling to committee buying is the norm. Sales professionals must be able to engage variable experts at the right time and in the right way. Deals must be well qualified and communicated to build internal confidence..
- Exploring the client’s problem. Perhaps the most critical attribute of services and solution selling is the ability to listen to and diagnose the client’s challenges, opportunities, needs and potential business value and to innovate around potential solutions. This capability is at the core of services and solution selling.
- Dealing with the competition. Understanding the competitive situation early and often is critical both for deal qualification and to differentiate solutions or services. Offerings are customized to address client needs and to differentiate.
- Overcoming obstacles. While orchestrating the sales process, there will be objections, red flags and concerns. The ability to listen, acknowledge, frame and respond to these obstacles along the way helps keep the sales process on track.
- Presenting persuasively. With an understanding of the client’s needs and the business value they seek, the sales team must present a solution persuasively. This involves a top-down approach with a single-minded message. Presentations should be well structured and logical to address the opportunity. The SCQA approach is a powerful method for this.
- Gaining commitments and closing a sale.Part of good services and solution selling is the natural ability to gain commitments along the way and to understand when and how to ask for the order. Gaining commitments are the mark of success and there are different styles and approaches sales professionals can use.
To improve your organization’s services and solution selling, you should tailor the approach with the different levels of experience in the organization. While professionals that are new to services and solution selling roles value structured training workshop approach, senior and experienced sales leaders value a more collaborative process that includes facilitation, peer-to-peer engagement and deal coaching.
Effective services and solution selling programs can help your team:
- Articulate what it means to sell more intangible solutions and consulting services and describe what it takes to be an effective professional sales person.
- Engage modern digital tools, CRM and social media platforms to build audience insight and manage the sales process.
- Work well with marketing to develop and execute account-based marketing programs.
- Describe your company’s approach to selling and the stages of the buy-sales life cycle.
- Engage internal experts to innovate tailored solutions for clients
- Understand practices and tactics needed to orchestrate the buyer’s decision-making process
- Prepare and conduct effective sales meetings using customer-driven processes, questions, benefit statements and closing techniques.
- Learn about the top-down method of persuasive communications
- Sell effectively as a team.
Revenue Architects helps clients deliver tailored solutions for effective services and solution selling including structured training workshops, deal coaching, key account programs and account-based marketing. Contact us to learn more.