I often observe that technology firms in the air traffic management (ATM) industry take a transactional as opposed to a consultative approach to selling. This is unfortunate as it undermines their growth and position in the market.
Whereas transactional selling is about the product, its features and price, consultative selling is all about the value that is to be created. It has less to do with what the customer is buying and more to do with why. In a transactional sale, value lies within the product and price becomes the primary selection criteria. Who wants to compete on price alone?
It is well-known that high-growth firms differentiate themselves in a consultative approach to selling and in building client-relationships that create more value over time. Thus, the benefits of evolving to a consultative approach are compelling.
So, how do you transition to a consultative approach? The following five actions will get you on your way to better sales performance and growth:
- Commit to a vision of the future – ATM is going digital and by taking a forward-looking view of where the industry is going, a technology firm can be ahead of its clients (and prospective clients) on the decisions they need to make. This will require some upfront investment in thought-leadership, sales planning and sales capacity before revenues will materialize. However, it is an investment worth making – we are talking about the future of your business!
- Articulate a clear strategy – as an ATM solutions provider, you should position yourself as a partner and advisor on best value turn-key solutions for your clients. By investing in the customer relationship and by taking a consultative sales approach, you can influence investment decisions before a formal procurement process gets underway, and may result in sole source RFPs (download my e-book on Value Creation in Procurement)
- Invest in people – make a commitment to improving sales talent and performance that places an emphasis on relationship-building skills and value-creation. This is essential to better understanding and anticipating customer needs, and thus should lead to better account planning and sales pipeline management
- Invest in digital – make use of digital tools to provide better customer and technical support, improve collaboration with clients and partners, and build out a products e-commerce platform to enhance the customer experience
- Invest in sales analytics – make use of analytics to help decide what are the best sales opportunities and minimize risk. By shifting from analysis of historical data to being more predictive, sales analytics can result in better sales and marketing decisions, account management, new insights into sales opportunities, and sales strategy