Channel partner organizations are growing more professionalized – but also more simplified – in their approach to sales, according to an upcoming conversation about sales trends.
Lead generation, cross-selling and the lengthening sales cycle are just a few topics top of mind for technology advisors (agents) and other types of channel partners. A panel of channel sales leaders will weigh in on what they're seeing on the table for 2024 and beyond.
Bridgepointe Technologies chief strategy officer Scott Kinka, Business & Bourbon CEO and founder Ronnell Richards and Disruptive Innovations and Disruptive Innovators founder and CEO David Wright will speak in the session, "Top Sales Trends for Every Channel Partner to Watch in 2024," Oct. 31, at the Channel Futures Leadership Summit. Michael Schmidtmann, peer group facilitator and business coach for Trans4mers, will moderate the conversation.
Schmidtmann and Richards answered several questions from Channel Futures about sales trends they see. It serves as a preview for their session.
Channel Futures: What’s the biggest trend you are seeing in technology advisor sales?
Ronnell Richards: Simplify products and offerings. I went from being a truck-stop diner to a five-star restaurant. Five-star restaurants have four or five entrees, and they execute them to perfection. I lowered the number of products I was offering to focus on those with which we could produce the best outcomes. I think it’s important to do less better. Know your clients and serve them at a high level. This ties into the question of longer sales cycles.
Longer sales cycles are a fact of business now. That means more investment from you into the sale. If you are going to make a deeper investment, it only makes sense to focus on what you do best so there is a greater likelihood your investment pays off. Making the mistake of having too many products with higher opportunity costs due to longer sales cycles could harm your business.
Michael Schmidtmann: Increased specialization. One person used to perform numerous sales tasks; now, many people touch various points of the sale process: pre-sale research, content generation, event marketing, outbound prospecting (phone, email, LinkedIn), appointment setting, qualification and sales process, pre-sales engineering and project scope, executive briefing, implementation and project management, and client success.
[In addition, there's the] proliferation of specialized sales and marketing software tools.
CF: Do you see technology sales cycle getting longer? If so, what factors are involved in that?
MS: Yes, it’s not just an observation; it’s a fact validated with mega data from Salesforce, Gartner and others.
CF: What’s one adjustment you've seen peers make to refine their sales process?
MS: Sales organizations used to let everyone sell their own way. Now they want more consistency and standardization.
CF: How do you define the sales process? Where does it start for you?
MS: There are many sales processes. I prefer the “Bowtie Model” by Winning by Design.
RR: I love this question and it’s something I really dive into in my book. Sales is all about relationships and alignment. Every great relationship in life comes back to the alignment of mutual value and respect. Because of this, the sales process starts during the database building process. It begins with identifying your ideal client profile and building a prospecting database based on that model.