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teractivity into a virtual sales process? First and foremost, if you were planning to show any static PDFs or product sheets, don’t do it. Try swapping out static data dumps for a question to engage the audience right off the bat – keeping them focused on a subject that makes them think, and creating a focus of atten- tion. Then, get them to do some interacting themselves – have them drive an application or a game-like experience. Third, tie these activi- ties into their world rather than your products – focus them on discovering for themselves how they can solve specific problems. When sales leaders realize that video


conferencing tools are simply not enough, they can transition to a cus- tomer-centric meeting, featuring inter- active applications that show customer workflows and other dynamic experi- ences such as value calculators. Giving prospects tailored, interactive experi- ences (with content that is specific to that individual’s role and situation) is 33% more effective at educating buyers than static content – fulfilling the “transfer of relevant knowledge” requirement of interactivity.


CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT AND EFFECTIVE VALUE STORYTELLING While the rapid shift to selling in a


SELLING TIP Sell Benefits, Not Price


How do you meet a customer’s budgetary requirements despite the fact that your product costs more than your competitors’?


While selling medical equipment to radiation oncology departments whose capital budgets require the bidding


process, I use the following strategy to overcome price issues. Instead of directing your attention only toward matching or beating your competitors’ prices, know your cus-


tomer’s needs. Then spell out those key features of your product that set it apart from your competitors’ products. Those features will show it’s the customer’s best choice – or their only choice. For example, I point out our product’s open-air chamber for measuring isotope activity levels. The competitive advantage of our product: The physicist saves time by not having to monitor and recharge the pressure in the measuring chamber. When you present your product’s strengths and benefits that best meet the customer’s needs, you increase your chances for getting the sale – your product sells itself.


– JOEL T. CURT


SELLING POWER JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021 | 27 © 2021 SELLING POWER. CALL 1-800-752-7355 FOR REPRINT PERMISSION.


virtual world can be difficult in the short term, viewing it as an opportu- nity to revolutionize the customer’s buying experience will yield long-term competitive advantages. According to an October 2020 McKinsey report, companies that invest in digital plat- forms and agile applications that can be used beyond the COVID-19 crisis will realize increased customer loyalty and long-term sales growth. These interactive applications facilitate a customer’s digital buying journey, allowing the customer to drive the pace, scope, and nature of their dia- logue with the sales team. Many leading B2B global enter- prises are already in the process of adopting these platforms as part of their long-term growth strategies. Companies utilizing visual storytell- ing applications that can be created once and deployed everywhere are seeing an increase in sales, higher productivity, and higher satisfaction rates for digital experiences. Why? Because they have created engaged customers and successfully articulated their value differentiation – and, yes, they’re doing it remotely. While overall economic activity has declined since mid-March (when COVID-19 began to have an impact on the broader economy) the interactive sales and marketing engagement in-


‘‘


You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this and you will find strength. – MARCUS AURELIUS


dex has increased by over 80%. This underscores the swift transition both in technology and process that B2B sellers and buyers experienced, and the trend is expected to continue indefinitely.


Interactive customer engagement applications demonstrate the advan- tages of a digital platform approach rather than a one-off point solution tac- tic. Now, more than ever, the solutions- oriented collaboration between sales professionals and customers is a busi- ness imperative. As digital engagement becomes more dominant, sales orga- nizations must use digital experiences that elevate the customer experience across the entire buyers’ journey. 


Gavin Finn is a professor at Tufts University as well as CEO of Kaon Interactive, the global leader in interactive B2B sales and marketing software.


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