The transition to professional services and solutions is a major undertaking!
One of the most positive aspects of unified communications, from my point of view, is that it is forcing the reseller community – VARs, Integrators, Telecom Dealers, etc. – to stop selling features and benefits and begin focusing on customers’ specific business needs and problems. The shift in sales strategy seems to be a tough one for many reseller organizations (yes, change is always hard), but I keep hearing from individual resellers that the shift is bringing rewards beyond their expectations. So I’m curious… how hard is it to get a sales staff to change? How long is it taking before a company sees positive results? What has been the success level with the consultative selling strategy?
Making the transition from product driven sales to a practice that focuses on professional services and solutions is a major undertaking. The brutal economy coupled with shrinking product margins from vendors is making the change a “MUST” for any company who wants to survive beyond 2009. Too many companies today, are still depending on meeting their revenue goals by pushing products. The problem is that formula no longer works!
With every capital investment coming under intense scrutiny these days, demonstrating how your solution is going to bolster worker productivity, drive down costs, and improve business outcomes is essential for making the sale. Sales professionals who cannot present a justifiable ROI and deliver a strong technical presence,will fail miserably. Unfortunately, most sales people are inept and incapable of selling in this manner.As such, the worst recession since the Great Depression is going to send many sales professionals to the unemployment line.
Be advised, making the transition to a company focused on delivering pro services and solutions will require a complete overhaul of your sales team. Your employee morale will suffer, financial performance will suffer temporarily, and you’ll experience resignations from your sales team. This fallout should be expected. Most sales professionals who’ve thrived in the past as product peddlers, will not be able to make the change. However, it is absolutely necessary to ensure any chance of survivability in today’s economy. Those companies who fail to act or equivocate with their decision to change will face certain extinction. Don’t expect immediate gratification when making the transition. Patience, conviction to your vision, intense training, mentoring, and periodic performance assessments will be necessary. If you have the intestinal fortitude to make this radical change, prepare for at least a 24 month overhaul process. The corollary will be having a sales team that can effectively compete for larger and more profitable business opportunities. If you have the intestinal fortitude to make this radical change, prepare for at least a 24 month overhaul process. If you can remain financially afloat during this restructure, you’ll be rewarded with larger and more profitable sales. Moreover, you’ll become a sustaining resource and trusted advisor for your customer.