B2B sales teams increasingly focus – instead of the needs of today – on understanding of the future opportunities for the customers. This concerns especially the businesses in the hi-tech context. Modern sales organizations moderate open scenarios, to be discussed with the customers.
Sales: what´s new?
We tend to call the traditional sales approaches as value selling, solution selling, or consultative selling. These focus on customer needs identification, explaining price-quality ratio, building business cases, and refining of information from the customer. Challenger sales has been the step towards a debate about the customers´ latent needs – and introduction of new thinking models to the customer.
All of these approaches are still valid in the complex industrial selling context. However, the focus is increasingly in knowledge leadership of the sales person. We need a new flavor for sales approaches, the futures orientation.
Scenario selling tackles the changes, predicted in the customer´s business environment. The phenomena are explained; alternative road maps are proposed. In the scenario approach, the discussion turns to the customer´s business road map, instead of the needs of today.
Scenario selling is about business options
What is the difference between the traditional approaches and scenario selling – besides the futures orientation? In the latter case, the sales person has a better opportunity to discuss about the business positioning with the customer. At that time, a talented sales person can apply sparring about customers´ business options and position his solution in it. As the scenario, prepared by the supplier and sparred with the customer, is being discussed, it opens the opportunity to benchmark the customers own vision about the future, compared to the knowledge owned by the sales organization.
The challenger and scenario sales approaches accept that the sales person may be wrong – still, the fresh insight will bring high value to the customer. Scenario selling is a great approach for building committed partnerships and widening the network in the customer organization.