Adapting your sales strategy in fragmented markets

With the mass commoditisation of products, the onus of sales has now firmly shifted from products to products with services. In this instance, the needs of the buyer lie at the core.

Here at Noventum we’ve worked with a myriad of different companies spanning SMEs to Fortune 500s. Regardless of their size or sector, those that are most successful have a one crucial commonality; they are attuned to their customers. They have asked themselves: who are they, what are their business problems and how can my sales force add value to them? The path to discovering the untapped product and service potential in your business is to listen to your customers. The key to leveraging that understanding is a dedicated change in sales strategy. In today’s markets, companies can no longer expect to achieve sustainable growth without it.

A Case study 
Noventum recently worked with a pan European medical equipment provider whose existing strategy adequately pushed sales but didn’t promote sustainable growth for the business. The reason being was that their sales force were still employing traditional techniques which pushed the features, characteristics and pre-defined benefits of their company but were of little relevance to the customers’ situation. In the purchasers’ eyes, the benefits being sold to them were barely distinguishable from those of other providers.

Working with this medical equipment provider, we started evolving their sales approach to embrace customer centricity. The approach necessitated the need to develop a clear view of clients’ needs and challenges, which in turn required fluid dialogues with them and a relevant understanding of their business. Ensuring that teams had the necessary capabilities to conduct these dialogues was a specific challenge we addressed before improving the sales process.

A key undertaking here was that of training the company’s field service engineers to act as trusted advisors so that they could develop a greater understanding of their customers. They were trained to recognise opportunities for sales which were then communicated to dedicated sales teams. That knowledge combined with our own assessment, opened up a gamut of potential new revenue streams. They included advanced value-adding services such as a business consulting service to support clients in developing their operations.

We designed a new go to market strategy for each new service, launched very specific sales campaigns and set up a dedicated service sales team.

Our strategy avoided the temptation to provide these advanced services for free. In so doing it not only generated new revenue streams but also improved the value perception of the brand because free services often suggest low value services.

Ultimately, the strategy forged a path for the development of a range of new products and services, as well as expansion into other market segments. After just one year, their revenue increased by 20 per cent, which was far in excess of their investment.

These results would have been impossible without an underlying focus on what has become the defining factor of sales: customer centrism.

The Journey
Changing your sales strategy so that it is customer oriented is no small feat however. It is a collaborative and comprehensive exercise involving an intrinsic shift in attitude across every echelon of your company. It requires a minimum year-length commitment, but it reaps long-term benefits as well as short-term ‘wins’.

In this instance, one such quick win was achieved on analysing this client’s customer and install base. Here, we were able to identify opportunities to sell more service contracts for equipment of a specific age range. By setting up a dedicated marketing and sales campaign to target these clients, we quickly increased service revenues and margins and delivered a rapid return on investment.

In spite of these short-term wins however, implementing multiple changes governing the sales arena does require a long-sighted commitment, though it needn’t be overwhelming. At Noventum we’ve developed a library of components, which are proven yield to results. What’s more we can implement changes incrementally starting with quick wins, which minimise risk and immediately earn back the investments made, before embarking on longer-term projects. Ultimately, we can implement a type of self-funding programme but one in which our clients can expect an average of 20 per cent growth revenue within two years.

If you would like to know more about how Noventum can help to successful change your sales strategy, please feel free to contact us today.

People Management Centre
The People Management Centre is our online platform which focuses on one primary People Management area: Service Training