What disruptive selling can do for your pipeline

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This article appeared in the April 2016 issue of CRN magazine.

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What disruptive selling can do for your pipeline

The modern B2B technology buyer is sick of disruptive marketing. They’re sick of sales people that they perceive as untrustworthy, either due to competence or character.

Research tells us buyers now get 60-90 percent of the way through their purchasing journey before they reach out to sales organisations such as IT suppliers. Buyers are diagnosing their own problems, downloading everything of relevance from the web, then approaching numerous partners at the one time to fulfil their requirements.

No-one wins. For sellers, it represents high competition, a low win rate and low margins.

For buyers, it means that an inexperienced party (the buyer) is trying to diagnose their own problems and choose the solution. This might be a relatively new experience for them, while sales organisations are seasoned veterans. We often see buyers, due to their inexperience, ask sellers for solutions that don’t actually solve the problem.

From a vendor perspective, the more channel partners that bid on the same piece of work, the more channel capacity is lost.

No initial competition

The key to effective selling with absolutely no initial competition is to tell tech customers they have a problem before they actually realise it. In terms of the buyer’s journey (see below), this moves the buyer from being calm to having their status quo shattered.

Many organisations pay a high monthly fee for IT infrastructure as part of a disaster recovery plan. This infrastructure essentially does nothing – apart from “be ready” in case there is a disaster. With public cloud technologies such as Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services, which offer a pay-as-you-use, consumption model, the buyer no longer needs infrastructure. By using IaaS, the client only pays for the virtual infrastructure when they need it. Point this out to a CIO or CFO who is spending tens of thousands of dollars a month. It’ll shatter their status quo..

We are now with the buyer at the very beginning of their journey. We have the opportunity to walk with them along the course. Vendors love partners that can execute on disruptive selling, because it initiates the huge potential for new markets. Rather than having a large slice of the channel fight over “late buyer journey” tenders, disruptive selling partners start brand new opportunities that will lead to new business for the vendor.

Salespeople love disruptive selling because it’s concrete. It’s possible to build a customer insight journey presentation that introduces a prospect to a better way to run their business. Armed with this presentation, the salesperson is in charge of the agenda – and is genuinely offering something new. This takes away any stigma the salespeople or prospect may feel. It adds value, even if it doesn’t lead to an immediate sale.

Implementing disruptive selling

It’s possible to run a pilot disruptive seling program within even small partner organisations. Special sales enablement training programs can work, however the key to a disruptive insight research program within an existing customer base is in identifying “before & after” disruptive insights.

Build disruptive insight presentations based on how much cheaper, faster or more reliable the solution has been for existing customers. Once these presentations exist, we just need to find prospects that have thespecific profile likely to match the disruptive insight.

Wouldn’t you rather be starting new buying journeys than joining multiple other channel partners in bidding for deals already on the table?



1. Calm

Buyer is happy with how things are – “blissful ignorance” re potential improvements.

2. Status quo shattered

Buyer is uncomfortable – realises all is not as good as it could be.

3. Search around problem

Buyer types symptoms into search engines.

4. Frame problem and solutions

Buyer self-diagnoses, “labels” the problem, categorises solution.

5. Consult peers and experts

Buyer consults peers and experts to identify likely solution providers.

6. Engage potential providers

Buyer contacts a number of sales organisations or solution providers.

Bruce Rasmussen is the founder of Carpe Diem Consuting. He is presenting at the CRN Pipeline conference in Sydney and Melbourne in April – www.crn.com.au/pipeline.

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