Why Reps Struggle to Close the Sale

Why Reps Struggle to Close the Sale:

from The Sales Challenger™ 
iStock_000004464600XSmall - figure with question markIn our last blog post, we discussed how delivering tailored insights to customers has become table stakes in an era of sales where customers are better informed and more empowered than ever before. But as CEB Sales discovered in our 2011 research, Rewriting the Playbook, even the best insights will fall flat if reps aren’t engaging the right types of customer stakeholders, known as Mobilizers.
In this study, we found that not only do the best reps orient towards Mobilizers, but they also engage them in a fundamentally different way than their core performing peers engage other customer stakeholders. Because Mobilizers tend to be focused on driving change and not a particular supplier’s solution (i.e. your solution), the best reps actively guide Mobilizers through the buying process in a way that not only equips the Mobilizer to drive consensus around your insights and solution in the customer organization, but also leads to you as the supplier. We call this approach Commercial Coaching.
Commercially Coaching Mobilizers to build consensus in their organization involves a series of interdependent steps which draw upon rep’s past experience selling to other customers as well as their ability to innovate in-the-moment based on the context of the situation at hand. That said, a rep’s ability to successfully innovate and exercise judgment in the sale relies heavily on questioning skills.
But, CEB Sales has found that most companies struggle to get reps to ask better questions as training on discovery and questioning skills seems to always fall short—and that’s because the key to getting reps to ask better questions isn’t through skills training, but instead by building an investigative mindset.
Start by helping your reps understand that it’s not always about closing. Rather, show them that they are actually better served by taking the time to do some investigating to uncover potential obstacles to implementing your solution in the customer organization. Reps that have taken the time to arm themselves with such information, for instance, would be able to Commercially Coach their Mobilizer to preempt potential roadblocks and close deals that likely would have stalled out otherwise.
CEB Sales Members: learn how your managers can better prepare your sellers to sell in today’s Insight Selling Era by building an investigative mindset with the Investigative Questioning Toolkit. Also make sure to check out our latest research, Driving Sales Transformation, to learn more about the sales culture that your organization needs to have in order to drive winning sales behaviors.

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