Raoul Monks, founder and director of Flume Sales Training, leads the charge for sales excellence in the global events industry.
This crisis has fundamentally changed the way buyers behave and rendered traditional sales approaches ineffective.
If our sales teams are to succeed in this new environment, sales excellence needs to be re-defined. So, what does the future of sales look like? What are the implications for sales professionals and sales leaders? In our series of summits, we discussed this challenge with some of the industry’s finest sales leaders.
Here are the key takeaways:
You are selling results, not events
Clients have never bought into our events because they love events. In fact, according to recent research from Explori, the average NPS score for individual shows last year was -15.
That’s not good. What they have always cared about, however, is results. Our clients came into 2020 with specific marketing objectives and events were just one channel on their plan. With that channel currently unavailable, they are looking for alternatives. If salespeople are to sell right now, they need to think like marketers and understand why the client was investing in live events in the first place. Then they can start to position their new products as an alternative means to get there.
Fergus Gregory, director at Collingwood Advisory, put it neatly: “The product you’re selling is the audience and your ability to engage with them. All the rest is just channels…”
Clients need to be 100% confident of ROI
Businesses are under huge pressure and any spend is being scrutinised at a more senior level. This makes the buying process both challenging and risky for clients. It takes a very brave client to go to the board and ask for money right now, so they need to be 100% confident that your solution is going to work.
Today’s strongest salespeople give clients compelling reasons for change before providing them with criteria for safe decision making. Only then do they discuss their own solutions.
De-risk the process
We’ve all seen clients fail to make the most of our events. They don’t engage with the audience pre-event, they spend the event sat down looking at their phones and they fail to follow up on leads. Then they complain that the event wasn’t very good. We can’t let that happen.
Sophie Holt, Global Strategy Director at Explori, has clear advice for salespeople: “Don’t leave it to chance that the client will get ROI, work with the client to help them drive ROI through your solutions”. A commitment to driving ROI needs to be hard baked into our sales approach and every other aspect of what we do.
Salespeople need help
Our salespeople need our help. Katie McBride, sales director at DMG Events, put it like this: “We have to make it easy and enable our sales teams to be able to sell. Give them the toolkit.”
Greg Sewell, group commercial director at Clarion Events, added: “Now is the right time for managers to take a good hard look through their teams. If you’ve got those good old traditional sales dogs in there who are not thinking about that customer perspective, more than ever it’s time to help them learn a new skill set…”
Following three summits in their Future Sales Lab Series, Flume has created an industry Benchmark for Sales Excellence in a changed world. You can download the Benchmark here: https://flumetraining.com/resources/downloads/