Customers Have Shifted Gears: Are You Still in the Race?

August 7, 2023 | Dr. Stephen Timme

Buyers are rapidly changing their behaviors, expectations, and journey as they take more control of the process. Trying to engage them with old approaches is unproductive; your sales team needs new tactics to succeed. Enterprise sales races are not going to the swiftest, but to the most prepared and agile.

The Changing Sales Environment

The wealth of information at buyers’ fingertips means they are much better informed than ever before, and, as a result, are much further down the buying journey. This requires new tactics and techniques from your sales team.

Uncertainty in the economy has resulted in an increase towards “stability preference” by many buyers. Likewise, market experts are sensing an increasing shift in buyers’ attitudes from a fear of “missing out” to a fear of “messing up.” Overcoming a customer's reluctance to change takes a willingness to listen and skillfully combining appeals to emotion and logic.

In addition, prospects continue to increase the number of stakeholders in the buying process, shifting to a more committee-like structure. With the multiple agendas and perspectives of the stakeholders, it creates more complexity in the selling process. To survive, your sales team needs to adapt to the changing landscape.



Understanding the Stakeholders

Too often, sales personnel view the customer’s assortment of stakeholders as one entity, not as individuals with unique drivers, motivations, and perspectives. The increasing number of stakeholders in the buying process puts the onus on your team to better understand each as an individual. Knowing the stakeholders as both individuals and the group dynamics is necessary for navigating the twists and turns during the customer’s buying journey.


Race Tip: A Forrester study found that nearly 80% of buying executives believe sellers do not understand their business. Like many others, your organization is probably not performing enough research to understand the customer’s challenges, KPIs, and goals. Providing your team with the tools to gather this information easily and systematically and more on prospects provides the necessary edge to win deals.


Appealing to Emotions and Logic

As the old saying goes, “People buy on emotions and justify on logic”. Customers will not be convinced your company and solution are the best fit for them just by extolling the potential financial and operational benefits. The necessary approach could be restated as “Start with the emotion and end with the logic.”


Though the financials are critical, the buyer must first be convinced that what your team is selling is a remedy to their top challenges. To accomplish this readiness involves your sales personnel listening and understanding their situation before delivering the solution details and potential operational and financial benefits.

Selling the Need for Change

As part of the emotional appeal, your sales group needs to recognize that they must overcome the stability preference by first showing the need for change. Prospects want to ensure you understand their issues, constraints, and needs. Overlooking this critical requirement will put your whole pursuit in jeopardy.


Your sales group must also recognize that in uncertain times, customers will especially hone in on how your solution can increase value for their top business priorities. Price is not the end-all, nor just offering generalized value generation statements. Your team must understand the client’s decision matrix, covering:

  • Top Operational and Financial Priorities
  • Corresponding Value Generation Goals
  • Targeted Price

The only way to understand this mix is for salespeople to put in the time and effort to thoroughly understand the organization so they can align with these elements.

Race Tip: A framework to use in setting price is understanding the lowest possible price that removes friction from the prospects’ decision process. Lowering the price is only one method to accomplish, there are other methods available to meet the threshold. This can include reducing risk for the customer with opt-out clauses, trials, and similar approaches.

Developing Your Sales Team

As a sales leader, the changes in the buyer's journey require significant alteration in your approach. In the past, a typical leader was just trying to make everyone go faster, “managing the frequencies” - quicker cycles, and more calls, client meetings, and emails. Now there are a variety of tools available to easily monitor these activities to allow your focus to be on developing improved competencies in your group.

The changes in the buying environment have obsoleted many of the skills the more experienced sales members had used in the past. But now, with the new approaches required, revenue organizations need “competency coaches.” Sales teams need an expert’s guidance and coaching in navigating and succeeding in an increasingly complex sales process.

Race Tip: Instead of having your team analyze the causes for how well they did in meetings, they should write down every question the prospect asks in meetings. Compiling these questions by topic provides great insights into what is important to the customer. Your team will have groupings of questions that will highlight the customer’s top 2-3 priorities.

New Expectations Demand New Approaches

Leading with “features and functions” in sales pitches is a losing proposition. Customers are changing their buying behaviors and expectations, and if your team does not adjust, they will be left in the dust. Your success depends on providing your team with new tools and tactics to win in these hard-fought races.


FinListics Is Your Difference Maker

To learn more about improving your team’s selling approach and keeping up with customers changing expectations, please watch our webinarCustomers Have Shifted Gears: Are You Still in the Race?, which featured:

  • Janice B. Gordon - Customer Growth Expert, Scale Your Sales
  • Tom Castley - Vice President of Sales, Hook
  • Dr. Stephen Timme - President & Founder, FinListics Solutions

Preparing your team for selling success includes empowering them with the tools to connect and convert. At FinListics, we help sales leaders worldwide provide their teams with a powerful business performance research and insights platform for easily compiling critical information on your prospects. Our ClientIQ platform is your difference maker between being down selected and receiving a rejection notice.

Please contact us today to speak with one of our experts.


Contact Us

Posted in KPI, Selling Strategies, Webinar