How to sell to different segments in the organisation

It is the consummate seller who is able to resist the urge to volunteer (unnecessary) details of what the product can do.

A business to business sale many times requires the presentation to be done across different cadre before it is consummated. Few sellers do this. Many, for lack of trying; others for lack of knowledge. To succeed in adapting one’s presentation to the commensurate segment, here’s what research shows each segment is often interested in.

Management

The bottom line; solutions, not problems, and reducing costs. With this in mind, it becomes particularly important for the seller, say of the IT solution, to demonstrate its value, impact on the business and the expected outcome. All in a short span.“Your staff in IT confirms that the Robot program is easily compatible with your system. With this solution, you will increase your operational efficiency by 45% with surprisingly minimal to nil increase to your costs. Based on your historical performance, and borrowing from anticipated projections you will easily double your profits this year at the minimum because of Robot.” It is the consummate seller who is able to resist the urge to volunteer (unnecessary) details of what the product can do, what it can do, what it can…you catch my drift. Usually, this is done in the hope that the senior officer will be wowed. Many times, he shifts attention to his phone or emails.

Specialists

The joke goes that a specialist is someone who knows too much about very little and continues to know more and more about less and less until eventually he knows about almost nothing. Specialists tend to focus on their areas of expertise and have blinders to everything else. (Salespeople are especially notorious at this) For this reason, the IT seller will focus on how Robot will ease or benefit the specialist’s area of expertise and nothing else. Specialists include chefs, webmasters, software engineers etc, and they want to know how their expertise influences the organization and where their expertise is not being utilized

Professionals

The one thing that permeates all professionals (excepting politicians assuming they are) is doing the right thing which usually translates to following procedure. Not yours but theirs. Not necessarily how your product works but if it flouts any procedure or policy. The seller who shows how Robot will impact the organizational policy and how procedure will be followed will more likely connect with the professional than the one who doesn’t. Examples of professionals include human resource and public relations executives and accountants. Ethics and morals are usually high on their agenda.

Lay employees

I’m reminded of the messenger (call him Juma) who was the shop steward at an organization I used to be with. This one year we did not get bonuses owing to poor performance. We had been on bonuses consistently for 6 years so Juma refused to understand why this year was different. I’ll never forget what he asked the MD, while in defense of the union. “Did I not deliver all letters in time? Was there a driver who failed in his duty? Is there any work that we did not do? We did what we were required to do, so if the company didn’t make profits, that’s not my doing.” Believe it or not, they got their bonuses! Lay employees (clerical staff, waiters, drivers) are focused on pay and working conditions. Showing how Robot will impact on this stands a greater chance of it being taken up faster

Unless asked to do otherwise, focus only the area of interest; and to thrive, do this at preparation stage.

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