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From Solution Selling to Business Consulting

Developing Sales Skills for Competitive Advantage

In today’s economy, sales leaders face a dilemma: Customers still able to invest in new solutions are also demanding discounts and other concessions. At the same time, selling organizations are under great pressure to deliver both sales numbers and profitability to meet their own company’s expectations.

In this situation, what can sales leaders count on to win? Typically, the sales organization does not control product or market strategy, and pricing and revenue goals are set elsewhere in the organization. Nevertheless, the sales executive has direct influence on a powerful source of competitive advantage: the salesforce and how it interacts with customers. Expert sales professionals can build customer relationships that generate profitable sales—as long as they are able to add real value to the customer’s business. Regardless of the economic climate, companies need expertise and solutions that address business fundamentals such as productivity, efficiency, financial results, and return on investment (ROI). Salespeople who can respond to these needs can shut out the competition while increasing both the amount and profitability of their sales.

By offering a solution to a concrete problem, the salesperson moves beyond consultative selling to a distinctive role as a true business consultant able to make a substantive contribution to the overall success of the business.