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The Craft of Selling: Understand the Three Different Sales Techniques
Blog / Sales Management / Sep 22, 2014 / Posted by Nikolaus Kimla / 11645 

The Craft of Selling: Understand the Three Different Sales Techniques

In a recent blog post we touched on the types of sales which are being mostly automated, and highlighted the fact that in the higher-ticket B2B sales, human sales techniques will always be required.

Expanding on that point further, it can be seen that today—thanks in a large part to technology—“sales” can no longer be lumped into a single category. There are three distinctly different sales techniques: Transactional Sales, Consultative Sales, and Enterprise Sales.

How are they different from each other?

#1: Transactional Sales

Transactional sales are those in which straight transactions occur. A consumer, for example, is seeking a good price on a name-brand hair dryer. The hair dryer is located on an ecommerce site, paid for by credit card or a transfer service such as PayPal, and that’s the end of the transaction. There is no need for a salespeople in this environment—sites such as Amazon have created a buying experience that requires no human interaction.

Where is the trust factor in transactional sales? The trust in this sales technique is completely in the product and the brand. The consumer has heard, seen or read enough on that particular product—or has personal experience with it—that there is trust in it.

Although not as common, trust can also occur with a particular ecommerce site, if consumers have routinely had an excellent buying experience there (Zappos comes to mind.). In that case the trust is engendered through excellent delivery and customer service.

#2: Enterprise Sales

In enterprise sales, the trust in an institution. It is a company that has a long-standing reputation for providing products and services that are outstanding in the field and in whom a company can place its faith.

In enterprise sales, there is also a considerable future factor involved; a company is entrusting a part of their future in the hands of the institution.

Due to the complexity of enterprise products and services and the long list of options involved, a human salesperson is required. It well behooves an enterprise salesperson to have mastered the sales techniques of insight selling, so that the customer is serviced to the maximum degree possible and that trust is well-earned.

#3: Consultative Sales

Consultative sales also requires a human salesperson and likely always will. With consulting sales, a company is placing their trust in a person and their recommendations and advice, as opposed to a product or a brand.

More than in any other category, the sales techniques of insight selling are particularly vital here. A consultant must possess a keen perception and understanding of a company’s issues and needs, and provide the best possible recommendations for solutions to them. When a trusted consultant advises a company to buy a certain product, they’re likely do to so even when the company has never heard of that product.

In addition to professionals working as consultants per se, under this category would fall salespeople selling products or services that buyers or prospect companies are largely or somewhat unfamiliar with. The salesperson in this category has a tough challenge, but one which can be met with the right skill: the sales rep of this sales technique must become, to a greater or lesser degree, a trusted consultant for that company. Once again insight sales is the key.

CRM Solution in Sales Techniques

Anyone engaged in insight selling—categories 2 and 3 above—must be backed up by a leading-edge CRM software solution that makes it possible to save and utilize deep insight, yet maintain and improve the velocity of your sales pipeline management. Such a CRM solution must be intuitive and flexible so that vital sales data can be rapidly retrieved when needed. Such a solution also allows sales priorities to be accurately set so that the target and goal is always visible.

In two out of three of these sales platforms, the sales techniques of insight selling are the main ingredients. Very fortunately, such qualities can only be obtained by us humans.

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About Author

A 30-year veteran of the computer industry, Nikolaus has founded and run several software companies. He and his company uptime iTechnology are the developers of World-Check, a risk intelligence platform eventually sold to Thomson Reuters for $520 million. He is currently the founder and CEO of Pipelinersales, Inc., developer and publisher of Pipeliner CRM, the first CRM application aimed squarely at actually empowering salespeople. Also a prolific writer, Nikolaus has authored over 100 ebooks, articles, and white papers addressing the subjects of sales management, leadership and sales itself.

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