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The Two Vital Roles of Effective Salespeople - Part 2

By Bob Parks

In the last post we discussed the importance of the first vital role of effective salespeople, a Business Consultant. This week will discuss a salesperson as a Strategist. As a Strategist, you focus on advancing your organization’s business through wise opportunity management. So how does a salesperson execute strategically in the real world? A Strategist is Aware and Knows.

How aware are you of your customers? Most salespeople are aware of their customers in the sense of what products or services they offer, however a Strategist is:

1. Aware of their Customer’s Customers

When you are working with your customers, are they discussing the challenges they are having in fulfilling orders or handling clients? When you think strategically you have an opportunity add greater value to your relationship. Share some lessons learned with them. You might know of a solution that could alleviate their pressure. Your advice or recommendations add value to your relationship because you are offering the advice as a partner.

2. Aware of their Customer’s Competitors

Who does not like to know some inside information about a competitor? Do not think of this as gossip, but more as “situational awareness”, like the military. As your customer’s partner, you can create greater value and advance your opportunities by understanding how your client can better compete in the marketplace. At a minimum, if your client can not take direct action, they can prepare for what maybe on the horizon.

3. Trends in the Market

Customers are very focused on their business and are often blind to anything outside of their scope. Salespeople usually have the advantage of working with multiple clients across multiple industries. As a Strategist, you again have a unique insight that can shed some light on opportunities for you clients but also for you. You may see an challenge that another client is having that could be alleviated by one of your clients. Understanding what you see and translating that knowledge into action is key to adding value beyond your product or service.

4. Your Competitors

Clients have many options in today’s marketplace. Information and competitors are only a few keystrokes away on a computer. Harness your strategic thinking by asking your clients if they use any other vendors. You might be surprised how easy it can be to ask questions about your competitors and hear how great or terrible they are. If your customers value your partnership they will let you know the good and the bad of both your relationship and your competitors. Build your value by committing to improve and continue to earn their business.

"However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results." Winston Churchill

Know, Know, Know

Everyone is aware of the phrase, “Knowledge is Power.” Power comes from the application of this knowledge. Successful and highly effective businesses no longer work in silos. As a strategic salesperson, you focus on advancing your organization’s business through wise opportunity management. Think about how information you gather can be used elsewhere within your organization. Have you witnessed new technology being used by customers that will provide opportunity for the marketing department to create new materials that could be more targeted and effective? Does the plant have an opportunity to change the placement of labels so that a client can save extra labor as they use your product? What can you share that adds value to your organization?

As a Strategic salesperson your ability to listen, observe and apply is what will move your organization from just being a provider to a partner. Business moves fast and clients have more choices than ever before in the global economy. Renew your competitive advantage by utilizing your knowledge and insight as a Strategist and providing advantages to your customer as a Business Consultant.

Published: March 13, 2014

MEET THE AUTHOR

Bob Parks

Senior Partner

Bob, one of the founders of Strategic Enhancement Group, has over 40 years of experience in business. Prior to starting Strategic Enhancement Group in 1984, he held sales, sales management, senior management and board of directors’ positions with three international companies. Bob earned his B.S. from the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland and his M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Executive Program. SEG has consistently been one of Wilson Learning’s top performing and award-winning partners for over two decades. Bob has won both the Crystal Wisdom Award and the Summit Award given by Wilson Learning for outstanding contribution to the culture and growth of Wilson Learning’s agency network. He served as President of the Board of Advisors to Wilson Learning as well as on several charitable organization boards.

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