Once you have segmented your target market, identified the target audience’s buying process and devised your positioning, you will find that the best way to structure, equip and manage your sales force will be apparent.
Let us assume that the product being positioned to a corporate buyer is a high-involvement complex sale. It demands the active involvement of a buyer/group to ensure that the perceived high-risk of an adverse outcome is minimised. It probably represents a buy of over $150,000 and will be decided by a buying committee of upwards of twelve people.
The key to sales success in this sales process is in the positioning of the sales person and the required “give first” to earn the buyer executive’s trust and respect. Unfortunately, however, it is a fact that C-Suite executive buyers will not perceive a sales person as their peer. This happens in consumer markets too. Look at the financial services market (perceived complex purchase) where financial companies have to position their sales staff as personal financial advisors and where they in turn must offer a give first (usually a guide to some aspect of finance) to gain the buyer’s trust.
In complex business purchases, buyers will give their trust only to a business peer who provides them with a give first of valuable insight, information and resource that measurably contributes value to their current situation (i.e. their marketplace, industry, challenges, risks and competition, and financial position) and to their future state (where they want to get to). Structuring a sales force in this example is primarily about the appropriate type of seller needed – i.e. a small team of consultative sales professionals (drawn possibly from an advisory position to or in the targeted industry).