I have been meaning to write about an HBR article the was published last August on “The End of Solution Selling” and the referenced material in the comments that followed on line related to “The Challenger Sale” The sales methodology or concept of “Challenger” has certainly stirred debate within the sales world and the interest of those swimming in the social pool of media that are carrying around the haunted nature of sales forces spiraling out of control, crashing and burning only to have the next sales leader come along to douse the fire with the latest craze of sales training, methodology or technology. Every new concept sounds tasty to sales leaders who are looking for the “silver bullet” or the fresh way to drive more revenue.
At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong answer. Sales people must have the capability, competency and overall skill to sell. And sales management must coach and teach them, marketing must make sure the message is clear and of course there must be a need for what you are selling. Ok, if you are selling a product to purchasing and all they are buying is price… a widget is a widget so to speak.. then a different skill may be needed than one selling complex consulting solutions or technology. But either way, salespeople must understand their products, their company’s message, what problem or issues they solve and why they are better than the competition.
Customers want solutions to problems and answers to issues, and the advice that goes along with it. Salespeople must be engaged and prepared with the knowledge and the capability to offer this insight when needed. There is no silver bullet, no one type of sales person that will be successful in all instances, different sales environments require different approaches, however the underpinning for all sales people is “adding value”, “having the capability” to add that value and the “competency” to deliver the message.
What are you seeing, breathing, living? Is this a “Silver Bullet”? Or is it really just a repackaging or spin on what successful leaders already know to be true.. Thoughts?