Finding examples of B2B sales strategies that work can be challenging; discovering ways to sell new enterprise products can be far more than that.
Initially selling new products might seem deceptively easy: Prospects are engaged, excited, and open to your latest offering. Business development performance is off the chart, with reps scheduling meeting after meeting with high-value accounts.
Demos are in high-demand, and as prospective customers enjoy the showcase, initial curiosity turns the conversation into a fact-finding mission. But after the initial curiosity wanes, customers often raise concerns – many more than with an established product.
Examples of B2B sales strategies to sell new products
Established B2B offerings come with reputation, use case documentation, references, and often user reviews – new products come with vision and marketing.
In response to the lack of information available elsewhere, each stakeholder will be far more critical of new products, so sellers need to be knowledgeable, motivated, and resilient.
A study published in the Harvard Business Review showed that sales professionals who pitch new products spend an average of 35% more time with customers than sellers of established products. Reducing the length of the sales cycle and enabling sales for these conversations greatly improves outcomes.
Here are five steps to enable new product sales readiness:
1.) Hire big-picture sellers
As observed in the study cited above, the most effective sellers for new products tend to share some key traits:
They consider deal progression in terms of people and processes: New products require extra steps and extra stakeholders; effective sellers focus on the buyer’s organization, who will be impacted, potential issues, and key stakeholders that need to be included early in the process.
They over-equip buyers with knowledge: New products lack credibility and the most effective way to build credibility is to be honest, sharing more than prospects ask for and offering additional details –current state, future improvements, and partnership considerations, to name a few. Over-equippers address the elephant in the room and gain a more consultative position, earning trust and guiding next steps.
They dedicate extra time: New product sales cycles take more time and effective sellers plan for the extra hoops.
They’re resilient: Effective new product sellers need to have the mindset that setbacks are going to happen. When they do, use the opportunity to build personal relationships with their internal champion. When a new stakeholder enters the discussion at the last minute with a brand-new list of objections, the best sales reps set a framework to address them and keep the opportunity progressing.
2.) Enable continuous learning
New products require training, but sales teams need to understand more than just product details. Effective sellers need to be equipped to understand the market vision, key messages, targeting rational, competitive landscape, product, and more — a training blitz or new product kick-off doesn’t cut it.
New product training is contextual and requires an iterative approach; sellers don’t know what they need to know, and they only figure out knowledge gaps through market exposure and customer conversations.
Effective selling organizations deliver continuous self-service training options so when a seller has a new question, they know where to quickly find an answer. Similarly, sales methodology training enables sellers to refine soft skills, which is especially valuable for deals involving new products.
3.) Reinforce sales with effective product marketing
When it comes to new products, the buyer’s imagination turns from ally to enemy as cautious stakeholders raise objections. Envisioning the potential impact of a new product can be inspiring, but comes with both organizational and personal risk.
Sales collateral that showcases both the vision and value of the product is crucial. Empowering sellers with the right mix of assets at the right time in the sales cycle improves the speed of opportunity progression.
Enablement platforms, playbooks, and sales guides can be effective distribution methods for sales collateral, providing targeted assets to address buyer concerns and contextual data of how and when to engage with what assets.
4.) Leverage incentives that drive behavior
Effective selling organizations make the success of a business success the success of a seller. New product sales require more effort and more upfront time investment than established products. Aligning compensation plan structure to promote the strategic goals of the organization ensures that sellers are motivated to focus on the new product.
Leveraging extra incentives like SPIFFs, bonuses, accelerators, and multipliers can dramatically increase sales momentum. Once sellers are aligned with business goals, sales managers are in a perfect position to use new product initiatives to foster healthy team competition.
5.) Simplify selling processes
Selling new B2B products can be a long and arduous process. Removing sales barriers and automating tedious sales tasks improves sales effectiveness in general, but for new product sales it has the added benefit of removing some of the unfamiliarity and ambiguity that comes with doing something new.
Automating sales interaction logging is a great step to keep sellers focused on selling, but the most effective step is removing the traditional deal desk. For new product sales, configuration, pricing, and discounting are key areas that bottleneck new product sales. CPQ process improvements yield massive return.
Laying the right foundation and making the right investments into people, training, and sales incentives, empowers organizations to effectively sell new products.
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