As a sales professional, hopefully, you are upgrading your skills, not only learning but executing what you have learned from your sales training. Hopefully, you’ve had recent exposure to some of the really great consultative, solution, insight, Challenger training programs. Mastery of these skills is important in today’s and tomorrow’s worlds of selling.
Without these skills, at least in complex B2B selling, you will simply be outsold by those who are effectively leveraging these skills in competing against you. If you aren’t leveraging these skills in every aspect of your job, you will simply be irrelevant to the customer. You will not be able to develop and deliver the value customers need to help them buy.
For those of you, who have had some of this great training, and, more importantly are effectively leveraging the skills on a daily basis, don’t rest on your laurels. Being able to effectively leverage consultative, solution, insight, Challenger sales training skills are becoming table stakes—to be a high performer you MUST be implementing and executing these well–or you simply will be irrelevant to customers.
But, as we look forward in professional selling these skills are no longer sufficient for sustained sales leadership.
The skills you will need to be a leader, to be the preferred partner to customers, and to set yourself apart from peers who have been through the same selling programs and are leveraging those skills effectively, are far outside “traditional selling skills” programs.
Bringing our customers new ideas, helping them think differently, helping them discover new opportunities or better ways of doing things has always been critical to creating value for our customers. We, collectively, seem to be acknowledging this with the massive changes we’ve started to see in most sales training programs.
Our customers need us to be engaging them on these issues, but they need a lot more, they’ve moved on.
Buying has gotten tougher, far more complex—not the part of dealing with sales people. The part that’s all internal to the company itself. The rough stuff about recognizing the need to change, understanding innovation, disruption, their own customers and markets. Then, they need help in buying–not selecting the vendor, but figuring out what they want to do, aligning priorities, agendas, and organizing themselves to define a course of action, ultimately buying and producing results within their own companies. They need to understand how to sell and gain support within their own organizations.
All this requires skills and capabilities far beyond those the most advanced training programs offer.
The skills our customers most need us to be developing include: Business Acumen (this is fast becoming a table stake skills), Problem Solving/Critical Thinking, Project Management, Change Management, Partnering/Teaming/Collaboration, Innovation.
If you are a high performer, you’ve developed the skills that get you invited to play. Now you must make sure you have the skills our customers really need to help them win and to enable you to win.