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Providers should be willing to become true partners with their customers toward a goal of mutual success.

Perhaps sellers are convinced that they don’t need a sales process or sales professionals because they have a website, a smartphone for email and texting, as well as other indirect means of communication. Alternatives to direct sales such as Internet- based sales and marketing, and business and social networking sites are tools that contribute to the sales process, but are not substitutes for the personal interaction that leads to value-based solutions. Te goal of this article is to raise

awareness of the importance of a sales process and to review the use of advanced sales techniques. A process that delivers competitive differentiation, improved customer loyalty, price protection, profits, value, and will improve the long-term success of your business. It will also increase the success of prospecting, lead generation, and the percent of account closures. It is time to recognize that the sales

environment has changed and that the most successful businesses in our industry will be those that are able to bring cost structures into line with the changing realities of the marketplace and create innovative products and services supported by solid outcome data. Providers should be willing to become true partners with their customers toward a goal of mutual success. Terefore, selecting the right customers that you can help grow the most is one

18 datia focus

of the most important decisions you can make, because it will impact all the other decisions that you make. Te right sales process is the foundation for that success.

Contemporary Sales Environment Our clients are more knowledgeable, sophisticated, and demanding than in years past. Tere is intense global competition, virtual communication, a proliferation of product and service offerings, and commoditization. Tey face multiple service providers from complex and diverse channels with differing product and service focus who have primarily a supply side objective. Tese providers are trying to do more with less, lower the cost of sales, while shiſting resources toward the most profitable offerings. It is difficult to be responsive to customer needs and meet demand when selling is all about the seller. Demand side selling requires more consultative sales that are based on client’s objectives with services and support to achieve those goals resulting in clients receiving greater value.

Evolution of the Selling Process Initially, virtually all sales were transaction based, which is largely price driven, requiring a low level of service and support. Tere was a constant batle for share of business, low switching cost, and contacts were at the department level or with purchasing. Sales then transitioned into consultative selling, which involved the reduction of costs, improved revenue, and adding quality. Tis process resulted in a need for offering ongoing technical support, becoming a major supplier but not a sole source, moderate switching costs, and higher levels of contact with middle management and department heads. Ten quality companies began using a partnership sales approach, which led to providers becoming a major supplier and the opportunity to

be a sole source, with higher switching costs, and a higher level of contact with senior management. Tis process involved finding new ways to meet client expectations, a high need for options to expand business beyond products, and establishing a relationship beyond the individual offering. I am convinced that selling in the

employee screening industry is best served by a key account management process that is highly interactive and solutions based. Te sales person needs to know the nature and scope of their client’s business, build service solutions that are based on key client objectives, and have a clear understanding of their needs. Tey will align solutions with the goals, defining benefits to ensure the fulfillment of needs and improvement of conditions. Ultimately, the sales person will be able to demonstrate a return on investment (ROI) and measurements validating the success of the solution.

Advanced Sales Techniques Te key account management process is interactive, collaborative and consists of the critical elements of discovery in order to completely understand the situation, identify needs, and provide value solutions that will achieve the customer’s goals. Te sales person leads the decision makers to a solution by conducting a situational analysis of the client’s issues and opportunities to improve a situation, avoid a loss, or to solve a problem. Tese are generally the three basic elements of why someone will buy your services. All key participants should be involved in the process to some degree ensuring a decision that will be fully supported. Using the key account process helps to support business relationships, drives a “team approach,” effective deployment, efficient allocation of resources, and identifies the solution requirements. It clearly requires

summer 2016

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