Customers are looking for information to inform and arm themselves to make calculated business decisions. I as a sales professional can provide superlative information and basic levels of trust through the insights in the boardroom. But, I as the subject matter expert command a completely different relationship with the buyer. I have a teacher-student relationship, and command the same respect you would have had with your professors in university. The customer is there to listen and learn…

Why do your solutions consultants/sales engineers think it’s optional to become the digital voice to your customers?

It has made absolutely no sense to me when companies ask, “should our solution consultants/sales engineers learn Social Selling?”

I’m floored by this question. Do you not want your professors teaching your customers? Or are you going to leave that up to the 1st year teaching assistants only (sales professionals)? I get that your consultants don’t “own” accounts, but that doesn’t mean they’re immune to playing a vital role in selling.

No one in your organization is more capable to help ideate, create, and distribute new insights to customers like your consultants!

Here are a few critical steps for you to take internally:

NO EXCUSES:

If you have a VP Professional Services/Consulting that leads these sellers, get them on board fast!

Change their mindset around their roles and responsibilities to being THE MOST IMPORTANT voice to the customer. Don’t let the leader pull rank and say that their job is to drop into accounts like a ninja, and slip out once their demo is done. That’s not good enough for the modern, digital customer.

THIS IS YOUR INSIGHTS IDEATION FACTORY:

Domain expertise is your competitive advantage.

The challenge is that domain expertise lives between the ears of your consultants. Extract the stories, pitfalls, challenges, market trends, future innovations that they understand with immense depth. Interview them if you have too… get their knowledge into blogs, videos, eBooks, and podcasts.

ACCOUNTABLE TO CONTENT SHARING:

Each time your consultants are in the boardroom with a customer, they should have to instinct to connect with the buying committee at your customer.

As an example, if you sell to IT Security, each meeting your company has, your consultants should become 1st degree LinkedIn connections with the CIO, VP IT Security, and the IT Infrastructure Manager.

Compound this over hundreds of meetings a year. Now, have your consultants (who customers view as more agnostic, subject matter experts) share best practices, pitfalls, challenges, implementation roadmaps, etc. You start to edify the consultants, making them the rockstars for companies to follow.

Look what Marketo has done with Jill Rowley, or Salesforce with Vala Afshar – place your rockstars front and center with the customer. Your consultants are the voice to change management for not only the customer, but their entire industry ecosystem.

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Jamie Shanks

Author: Jamie Shanks

Jamie Shanks is a world-leading Social Selling expert and author of the book, "Social Selling Mastery - Scaling Up Your Sales And Marketing Machine For The Digital Buyer". A true pioneer in the space of digital sales transformation, Jamie Shanks has trained over 10,000's of sales professionals and leaders all around the world.

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