by Falon Fatemi (+ a SuccessSherpa mention in Forbes!)
In 2012, Harvard Business Review published a bold article entitled “The End of Solution Sales”. It declared that solution selling had become obsolete. The verdict was, in large part, founded on the argument that B2B buyers are coming to the table more prepared and better educated than ever before. In many cases, they’ve already honed in on a desired solution and, as a result, they no longer appreciate a solution selling approach that relies on open-ended questions aimed at diagnosing their needs.
While traditional solution selling is still dead, the changing B2B landscape has given rise to a new best-in-breed sales methodology: insight selling. Although insight selling is not new, it’s become more relevant and impactful in recent years.
Why the change?
In years past, B2B buyers sat in the driving seat. They’ve tended to have a strong understanding of their problems, a shortlist of potential solutions, and a well-scoped budget and evaluation process for selection. B2B buying cycles were, comparatively speaking, simpler, shorter, and more predictable.
In recent years, however, the B2B journey has become increasingly complex. The new B2B sales process is enormously stressful for buyers. In an HBR article, CEB and HBR explain the nature of the shift: “Most B2B sellers think their customers are in the driver’s seat—empowered, armed to the teeth with information, and so clear about their needs…Customers don’t see it that way…research shows that they’re deeply uncertain and stressed.”
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