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Avoiding The Biggest Sales Mistake

by Doug Davidoff | Apr 8, 2011 6:42:00 AM

The biggest sales mistake B2B salesforces make is focusing on process when they should be selling results, or vice versa.

There are two types of people in every corporation:

    • Process Owners
    • Result Owners
80-90% of people in a company are what I refer to as "Process Owners."  This simply means they "own" a series of tasks designed to manage and improve upon the status quo. These people tend to carry functional title like:  HR, Operations, Logistics, Procurement, etc.

These are your status quo buyers.  When you are selling to them, you must focus on making what they are already doing easier, faster, cheaper (with an emphasis on easier).

Results Owners are responsible for guiding the business.  They own P & L's.  They're looking for new advantages, or better/new ways to exploit their existing advantages.  Where status quo buyers live in the present (or past), Results Owners live in the future.  These are the buyers that are open to change.

If your message or sales approach is focused on your solution, the context of your conversation will almost always be process oriented.  If that's the case, then you need to be selling easier, faster, cheaper process.  You can't sell results to a Process Owner - they don't live with results problems, so they won't value results solutions.

It is equally bad to focus on process (solution) with a Results Owner.  If you do, they'll send you to the Process Owner, giving no authority along the way.  Remember, if the Results Owner understood the need for your solution - they would have implemented it.

When selling to the Results Owner, you must:

    1. Focus on the result.
    2. Demonstrate a critical gap/barrier to attaining that result.
    3. Demonstrate that the status quo is no longer viable.
    4. Implement a process to manage the change you are proposing.

By doing this, you will be able to demonstrate right-side value and avoid being commoditized.