Sell Me This Pen… How Sales Relates to Buying Decisions

desk-office-hero-workspaceThe past four blogs have discussed the different reasons decision makers choose to buy products and services, and just one final area remains to be analyzed as part of this series. On the surface it seems obvious: the ability of the salesperson to convince the buyer to actually buy their product.

First, it is important to define sales effort. In a typical win / loss program, feedback is garnered across a number of sales attributes such as the salesperson’s responsiveness and rapport building with the prospect, their ability to conduct needs analysis and customize the presentation to the prospect’s unique needs, and ultimately make the prospect feel like an important client.

After looking at thousands of win / loss interviews from the past year, sales effort was noted as a reason for choice in 11% of Mature market and 17% of Emerging market decisions. These frequencies may seem low, but they emphasize just how important win / loss is to understanding business choices.

17% was actually the second-highest percentage amongst reasons for choice in Growth markets, bringing to light how complex decisions in these industries can be. There is never a predictable answer that is standard across these deals, and although it is critical for sales teams in these markets to effectively articulate their company’s value proposition, according to the data shared with us, most of the time they fall short.

Now consider the Mature market, where sales effort was only noted by 11% of respondents. In the more commoditized spaces, the significance of sales effectiveness on winning a deal is intensified. Salespeople need to be able to differentiate from the rest of the market, but ultimately the 11% figure demonstrates their ability to do so is not very high.

If you remember that one-fifth of all decisions in Mature markets involve a previous relationship, not only are sales reps in these spaces selling against analogous competitors but also against strong incumbent ties. While these binds may be deflating the sales approach as a reason for choice number (because some prospects are averse to changing providers due to switching costs and pains, even if a competitor outsold them), they reemphasize how essential it is for sales reps to raise their game.

A win / loss program is an essential tool to understanding sales effectiveness because it arms executives and sales teams with the data, feedback, and suggestions needed to become more effective. In the past year, 75% of Anova’s clients did just that, improving the frequency in which sales was mentioned by prospects as a reason for choosing them in bids won situations compared to the rate in their previous program. Sales teams across all types of industries struggle with sales effectiveness, and this kind of research can give them a leg-up when trying to win more business.

This concludes the 5-part series investigating buying decisions across Mature and Growth markets. For a recap of past analysis, below are the links to the articles.

Overview and Methodology


Previous Relationship