It’s no secret that the Internet and social media have changed the way we do business – and this is especially true when it comes to B2B sales and marketing. But the process has also changed fundamentally for buyers.
Today, buyers can research products and solutions with a few simple taps, and have often decided what they want to buy long before they’ve had contact with any sales department. So how should marketers and sales professionals respond to this?
Connecting with prospective customers and generating potential leads has changed, and businesses need to adapt. But how? One effective way is through “disruptive selling”. And don’t let the name fool you – it’s not purely a sales technique – the role of marketing is critical.
What is Disruptive Selling?
Previously, businesses have relied on “solution selling”, which is all about learning from the customer what their problem is, and then offering a solution. Today, this method is becoming less effective, as buyers now usually don’t engage with sales until they know what they want. In fact, research shows that buyers get at least 56% of the way through their buying journey before they reach out to Sales.
This is not good news for the buyer, nor the seller. When the buyer self-diagnoses their needs, they often come up with a product that doesn’t adequately solve their problem. And for sellers, it means higher competition and a lower win rate, as buyers contact multiple businesses that they think can help.
Disruptive selling uses a completely different approach. Instead of asking the customer what their problem is, it’s about educating the customer that they have a problem that needs solving – even though they don’t realise this.
When to Use Disruptive Selling
Disruptive selling can be used at any stage of the buying journey, but it’s most effective when used early on in the buyer’s journey – to “shatter a buyer’s status quo”.
When we use disruptive selling to create a “sales trigger”, we have the power to start buyers on a new buying journey. This is achieved by introducing a “disruptive insight” - for example, pointing citing patterns and statistics that point out that they may not be running their business as well as they could.
This prompts them to start searching to eventually find a solution, and because you are with them at the very start of the buying journey you are able to walk with them on their journey - giving you the upper hand on the competition.
Marketing’s Role in Disruptive Selling
So where does marketing fit into all this? Marketers have an essential role to play in disruptive selling. They uncover and package the insights that start the disruption in buyers’ minds, and back it up with further research and content, to assist the sales team to walk with the buyer on their journey.
The following 6 steps outline the process:
- Undertake research to discover the disruptive insights within your existing customer base. The first step is to undertake research to identify the demonstrable improvements customers receive when they use certain solutions. By “reversing” this logic, Marketers can disrupt buyers by saying “if you’re doing it this old way, you’re (for example) spending x% more than you need to!”
- Package your research outcomes into a Customer Insight Journey™. Next, turn your research into usable material for the sales team, that is ready for them to present to – and discuss with - prospective buyers.
- Define the profile of the buyer most likely to resonate with each insight. For each insight, be specific, and clearly define the type of buyer you are targeting.
- For each insight give the sales team a targeted list of profiled prospects. This gives them a concrete list to work through. Because the list has been pre-profiled, there is an excellent chance they will respond positively to the insight that sales presents.
- Assist get your sales team in front of prospects with direct mail, content, advertising etc. This will build awareness and help your sales team get noticed by potential buyers.
- Provide any follow up content the Sales Team needs at each stage of the buyer’s journey. Continue to work collaboratively and provide supporting material to clinch the sale.
Is Disruptive Selling for Me?
These days, with so much accessible information available to customers, many traditional sales and marketing techniques have lost their impact. Businesses need to find new ways of generating leads and attracting potential buyers.
Disruptive selling works because it aligns sales and marketing processes to how buyers buy, starting buyers on new buying journeys and hence engaging with them earlier in the buying journey.
It’s a practical and overwhelmingly successful response to the way buyers have changed how they buy.
A recent Carpe Diem Consulting survey on disruptive selling showed over 40% completion rates by both business owners and those in sales roles – but only a 12% completion rate by Marketers. This indicates that there is a huge potential for Marketers to become actively involved in disruptive selling. By recognising this potential and including disruptive selling as part of your marketing strategy, you put yourself in a strong position for success!