Strategic Selling: From Transactional Selling To Strategic Selling
Strategic Selling: The Pipeline Guest Post – John F. Monoky, Ph.D., 11/04/11, Via The Pipeline at Renbor Sales Solutions
Continuing with a common theme in these articles, the changing role of the seller is again the focus of this article. Every day, new articles and studies come across my desk expanding on this emerging role. Research conducted by A.T. Kearney and Accliuus Partners is the source of much of these comments.
The role of the materials management and procurement function in industry is in a significant state of transition. Some of the more discernible trends include:
- A movement from purchasing as a tactical decision to one of strategic sourcing
- A movement from a regional focus to one of global magnitude
- A reduction in the large supplier base to one of fewer strategic partners
- A movement from commodity purchases to technology investments
- A refocusing from products to solutions
- A change from buying pieces and parts to managing processes
- And, a change from min-price to max-cost/value procurement
Consistent with these trends is an evolution of the buying process. If one were to define the buying process as a sequence of steps such as the model proposed by Accliuus Partners, it would include:
Most organizations and their “buyers” experience the greatest amount of difficulty in the planning, recognizing, searching and evaluating steps in the process. Therefore, the seller that brings the most to the table at these steps creates the most value for the account. The typical distributor seller tends to focus on the evaluating, selecting and consulting steps in the model with their selling strategy of presenting—handling objections and closing. This at best will create a transactional sale as opposed to a strategic relationship.
The next level up on the scale, would be the seller that can broaden the scope of their assistance to the searching through implementation steps. This seller would be viewed as counselor or consultative seller. There is a degree of commitment and loyalty to this seller on the part of the buying organization.
Value-added partnering is created when the seller and selling organization can assist the “buyer” and the buying organization through all steps in the buying process. Both upstream (prior to commitment) and downstream (implementing and tracking) are impacted by this seller. It’s at this level of selling the greatest degree of switching costs are created.
Given the transition in buying and the necessity to assist the buying organization in the management of the entire buying process, a new breed of seller is critical. As the distributor moves from selling products to tailored offerings, to integrated solutions and finally to solutions customized to the unique needs of an individual account, the selling discipline will change dramatically. At minimum, your sellers will have to:
- Learn to think strategically in anticipating ways to create value
- Manage and deliver usable information at all phases of the buying process
- Advance the relationship by increasing the customers trust and commitment to the seller and the sellers company, and lastly
- Have the capability to form an effective sales team by orchestrating resources in a cost efficient manner.
About Dr. John Monoky
Dr. John Monoky is the principal of Monoky Associates, a sales leadership development organization. He has helped his clients to better understand the strategic role of sales in today’s competitive market.
Dr. Monoky has served on the academic faculties of the University of Michigan and the University of Toledo. His primary focus for the past 25 years has been Executive Development.
He has a PhD from the Pennsylvania State University, an MBA from the University of Michigan and a BBA from the University of Toledo. He currently is the Director of the Center for Sales Leadership at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan
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