The give and take between buyer and seller has always fascinated me. For example, those who sell spend a great deal of time trying to navigate the organizations that they are targeting. Who’s in charge? What drives them to be interested enough to talk with us? Who are the key influencers in the deal? What is the desired outcome for the prospect?
In the last several years the Corporate Executive Board has conducted extensive research indentifying which sales people were most successful. They determined the following five sales types that interact with customers:
- The Relationship Builder
- The Problem Solver
- The Hard Worker
- The Lone Wolf
- The Challenger
Reading through this list, I’m sure you can think of a few people you’ve worked with that fit into these sales types. It may shock you to learn that one of these sales types significantly outperforms the others in complex sales, which is exactly what buying email marketing technology is. In fact, much of the way that you perceive a vendor is generated during the sales process. Did you realize that? The sales type that drives highest value in the selling cycle is also the type you may struggle with the most as a buyer. Let’s see if you agree with the description of the most successful sales type:
- The representative offers unique and valuable perspectives on the marketplace
- The representative helps me navigate alternatives to solving my problem
- The representative helps “me” avoid land mines
- The representative educates me on new issues and new outcomes
- The company they work from is easy to buy from
- The vendor has widespread support from within my organization
The challenge that sales folks face in the email space is differentiating between competitive vendors. It’s hard to do. It’s made more complex by the fact that many times the buyers don’t do a good enough job of identifying their needs and truly understanding the core variables that each vendor brings to the table. The reality is that all of the ESP’s can handle sending email and sending it well. Trying to differentiate between basic features that accomplish this table stakes task isn’t going to yield insight for the buyer. Understanding which sales team is bringing you value, versus the one who is interested in winning the commodity race, can have a huge impact on your decision making.