SITUATIONAL FLUENCY: THE KEY TO A MEANINGFUL AND INTELLIGENT CONVERSATION
Know your audience. As business interactions continue to evolve in a virtual environment, it’s essential for B2B sellers to capture mindshare of Decision Makers. Today’s hottest lead will turn ice cold and next year’s deal will never heat-up if this isn’t done well. The most successful sales and marketing specialists have learned how to foster meaningful business conversations and take appropriate actions when engaging with Decision Makers. They demonstrate “situational fluency” that produces higher sales conversation rates and shorter sales cycles.
Any marketer, business development rep (BDR) or sales development rep (SDR) who is responsible for accessing and engaging Decision Makers through content distribution, web interactions, phone interactions or field appointments needs “situational fluency”. It’s the superpower to establish credibility, gather business intelligence and diagnose behavioral intent based upon discussions and actions observed in real-time.
Decision Makers have needs. They are accountable for fixing broken things in their areas of responsibility and for taking what’s working to the next level. While no two buyers or sales situations are the same, a proven approach can be applied to every interaction. It starts by demonstrating an understanding of the responsibilities and challenges that a Decision Maker faces in their functional role within an enterprise. This opens the door to collecting more information about the specific organization and individual. Once the Decision Maker’s goals, priorities and timing are known, marketing and sales strategies can be targeted more effectively.
To effectively demonstrate “situational fluency”, sales resources need training and experience in the following three areas:
- Responsibilities Of The Role: Your sales resources (marketers, BDRs and SDRs) should have a broad understanding of the functional role that your Decision Makers play within the enterprise and the breadth of responsibilities that come with that role. They must understand how Decision Makers and their functional responsibilities contribute to the sustained profits of the enterprise. Sales resources who have a broad understanding of the role are better equipped with the functional acumen necessary to have a meaningful conversation that holds the interest of the Decision Maker.
For example, a company’s whose primary offering is a workforce management system and targets a company’s most senior HR executive should train their sales resources to have a broad understanding of an HR executive’s role. This includes knowing that a top HR executive is accountable for all the elements of Human Capital Management. Beyond workforce management, this Decision Maker will be concerned about workforce optimization, workforce acquisition, training and development, salaries and benefits, and succession planning.
- Common Challenges In The Role: Your sales resources need to navigate conversations and capture multiple pain points that can be leveraged when positioning the value of your product offerings. They need training to understand the common challenges Decision Makers face across their full scope of responsibilities. Experience is a great teacher too, especially dealing with Decision Maker dialogs across multiple industries. Decision makers find tremendous value in sales resources who have developed “situational fluency” in a specific functional area, because they are better equipped to lead consultative conversations.
In the example above, sales resources obviously need an in-depth understanding of an HR executive’s challenges with workforce management. But not just that. They need broader knowledge of concerns and challenges for Human Capital Management in general.
- Tools & Solutions For The Role: Sales resources (marketers, BDRs and SDRs) who have applied the two concepts above when engaging a Decision Maker have the greatest opportunity to offer a suggestion of tools, services and solutions that benefit the target company and the Decision Maker directly. The alignment of tools, services, and solutions is always more effective when directly tied to multiple areas of concerns and challenges. Thus, your sales resources should be trained on the best ways to position offers that connect these dots. Again, you will find that your most effective sales resources are those who have gained their situational fluency across multiple industries, as they are equipped to reference tools and solutions deployed by other industries to solve similar problems.
In our HR executive example above, a well-trained sales resource would lead the HR executive through a consultative dialog uncovering his/her challenges as they relate to Human Capital Management. Then, tie those needs to the advantages of deploying a workforce management system that tightly integrates multiple HR processes (i.e. Time, Attendance, Payroll, Compliance, Talent Acquisition, Benefits) into a single platform with role-based interfaces for employees and management.
So in closing, consider how your sales team engages with Decision Makers. Is there opportunity to improve the outcomes of your sales process by “reading the room” more effectively? If your sales resources are trained properly and experienced, and they have a broad understanding of the Decision Maker’s role, the responsibilities and the challenges, then they will be equipped to lead a Decision Maker to specific solutions through a consultative dialog.