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Shift from transactional to consultative selling

The challenge

When industries are created (or changed by a major innovation), many companies find they can grow rapidly without worrying too much about sales process and methodology. If you have the right product, customers will come to you – as early players in the mobile telephone market found. However, as markets mature, it becomes much harder to differentiate on product and service alone. The pipeline becomes harder to fill and win rates fall. For business to business sales (and to a large extent, retail sales as well), the game shifts from order taking to differentiating through the sales force itself. We call this consultative selling, but this is far from a reactive approach. It is proactive, insight-based and challenging where it needs to be.

Typical solutions

Not every customer wants to be dealt with in a consultative way, so it's important to segment your customers and deal with them through an appropriate channel. Fail to do this and you will end up 'stuck in the middle', with a sales team that is too expensive to compete for transactional customers, and lacking the skills to win complex consultative deals.

However, once you know which customers need to be dealt with in a consultative way, Imparta offers a comprehensive solution.

  • Our Consultative Selling Skills programme is aimed at relatively straightforward sales (both field- and telephone-based) where it is nevertheless important to create value through the sales process.
  • Our Creating Client Value™ methodology is at the core of many highly successful consultative field sales forces, from Telefonica to Intel and GE. It has been adapted to – and proven in – our industries as diverse as software, finance, utilities and aircraft engines.
  • Our Selling to the C-Suite programme helps those senior salespeople who need to engage a very different type of stakeholder, often without a clear knowledge of who C-level executives are or what they care about.
  • Our Strategic Account Management programme is designed to give account managers a powerful and (unusually in this field) practical set of tools to create and capture maximum value from your highest-potential accounts.
  • Our unique SEPT™ technology (Sales-Enabled Product Training) can also help to ensure that Marketing and Sales are aligned around the new challenges.
  • Finally, Imparta's comprehensive Capability Building® System provides the "engine" that will help all these new skills to stick.

Example case studies

Next steps

  • Explore our sales curriculum in more detail.
  • Read our White Paper on Creating Client Value.
  • Use the Design Your Solution section part of this website to decide how to embed these new skills (you can then download a customised PowerPoint presentation to use in internal discussions). In general it's worth creating a proper infrastructure for this kind of change, as the issue is a long term one. However, you can focus on quick wins to begin with (training, reinforcement and coaching); add more sophisticated techniques such as accreditation later on.
  • Contact us to ask specific questions, or to find out more about our work in helping sales teams to embrace a more consultative approach. Even if we don't end up working together, we learn by discussing real-world problems, so we're happy to share our insights without obligation.
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