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I’ve always been a big fan of the caped crusaders Batman and Robin. They didn’t have super powers but they compensated by arming themselves with the latest technology. They had the cutting-edge car, boat, ‘copter and utility-belt tools that they used to defend Gotham City from the Jokers, Penguins and Riddlers of the world.
And I’m clearly not the only fan out there, because B2B distributor leaders have been using this same dynamic-duo sales approach for years. Up until recently, a sales plan for the B2B distribution business involved three simple steps:
- Hire a sales superhero, a Batman (or Batwoman). They had the customer relationships and years of industry experience to build strong customer relationships and bring in the orders.
- Team that sales hero with great inside support, a Robin. This inside guru handled the orders and ensured that your deliveries and services were completed in a timely matter.
- Have your dynamic duo find ways to remove obstacles, fight the crime of out-of-control expenses and hire other dynamic duos away from the competition.
If you excelled in these three areas, you generally took share and made plan more often than your competitors. However, although those three steps are still a critical part of your success, they aren’t enough by themselves anymore. The reality is that key parts of the sales funnel process have moved from analog (calling your salesperson) to digital (looking it up online).
There are four stages to the B2B sales funnel. At the top of the funnel is awareness, in the middle are discovery and evaluation, and at the bottom is decision/purchase. Just a few years ago your customers had only analog options as they made their way through these stages. They had no choice but to depend on their dynamic duo sales team to help them in the awareness and discovery phases. The dynamic duo reached into its utility belt and used catalogs, trade shows, years of industry knowledge and other tools to help customers become aware of and discover solutions that met their needs.
Today, many distributor sales teams still use this same analog sales approach while ignoring the changes around them. The reality is that it’s an increasingly digital sales world, and it’s changing rapidly. Almost all of your customers are doing much of the discovery and awareness phases of the sales process digitally. In many cases they can the perform entire sales process online without needing a dynamic duo at all.
The number of these digital-only transactions is growing and will continue to do so. The B2B sales model I grew up with in the distribution business has changed. If your sales model is still the equivalent of driving around in Adam West’s 1960s Batmobile you are probably in danger of getting lapped by the competition. It’s time to add to your sales utility belt. You need to consider some sales coverage changes and develop or improve your digital sales tools.
That’s what MDM’s 3rd Annual Sales GPS conference is all about. We will examine everything from sales-compensation best practices to digital changes that can help you supercharge your sales in 2019 and beyond. The conference, which is being held in Las Vegas from February 20-22, will feature presentations from B2B wholesale distributors on how they transformed, updated and changed their sales plan to meet and exceed their goals in the new sales environment. I can’t think of a better way to learn then hearing directly from other B2B distribution leaders how they improved their sales model and drove results. To view our line-up of speakers or to register, visit https://www.salesgpsconference.com/.
As Batman liked to say when confronted with the latest dastardly threat, “There isn’t one minute to lose.”
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