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Less is often more. Learn how to improve B2B sales results by drawing insights from retail and supply chain challenges. Offering fewer choices enhances trust, empowers clients, and drives informed decision-making for lasting sales success.

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While I work primarily with B2B sales teams, there is much to be learned from our peers in the B2C selling marketplace.

One of those takeaways comes from retail. The pandemic and ensuing supply chain problems forced retailers into significantly downsizing or eliminating the number of options provided to consumers. But even when supply chains started to get back on track, that choice didn’t automatically return. In many ways, it has been better for retailers and consumers alike.

What can B2B sales teams take from this lesson? Offering more choice to your clients isn’t the answer; in fact, it’s creating confusion and hurting your sales growth. There’s a tipping point between choice and confusion. Fewer choices can instill higher trust with the client because it shows how well you’ve listened to and understand them. You’re also empowering them to make an informed decision.

Applying Lessons from Retail to Enhance B2B Sales Results

How can sellers and sales organizations use this idea to improve their sales results? Here are tips to apply during the sales and delivery process, as well as from a strategic perspective.

During the Sales Process and Delivery Process

  • Master the skill of qualifying your opportunities, and the decisiveness to root out the opportunities that aren’t a fit. When we pursue opportunities that are a fit, we improve our odds of having the right options for that client and ensure the buyer can move forward.
  • Write fewer proposals. When you master qualification, you’ll naturally write fewer proposals. The removes the false sense of security around numbers, because when you write fewer proposals, it becomes even more important that the ones you do write are spot on. The proposals you do submit will be much positioned to help you win.
  • Use three easy-to-differentiate options. It’s the Goldilocks Principle, three is just right. It gives you the opportunity to offer choice and it forces you to be thoughtful and clear with what you offer. Ideally, the options build upon one another, but that might not always be the case. When you write a proposal, give it this test: can you easily present your ideas to someone not in your industry? Even if they don’t understand the technical aspects of your offerings, will they still be able to easily follow you?
  • Be clear in asking for the sale. This is one step that’s often overlooked. When you’ve followed the stages of your sales process, and it’s clearly time to make the ask, do you ask? Or do you leave it with the client to get back to you? Asking for the sale is simply asking the client or prospect to make a choice. If we don’t ask, we create confusion.
  • Deliver what you promise, and not more or less. We’re often taught to under promise and over deliver (I’ve been guilty of using this one myself). What about delivering on exactly what you promise? Then review that with your client to ensure that you’re in alignment that you’ve accomplished that goal. This will save you and your company significant time and money, and it will actually improve your client’s satisfaction, by not unnecessarily expanding scope.

 From a Strategic Perspective

  • Clients don’t want more, they want better. Take the opportunity to move from more choice to better innovation. Retailers are finding when they’ve reduced underperforming products and overwhelming choice, they can free those resources to use on innovation. I define innovation as taking something and making it better by making it different. It can be a small change that makes a big difference. These are some questions to consider before embarking on innovation: Does it need to be improved? What is one small way to improve it that will be material to a client? Can we test that idea with a prospect or a client? Is that client or prospect willing to provide us with input along the way?
  • Take the view that you’re differentiating by offering less choice. Focus on being different, not on doing or offering more. This isn’t to say that you don’t have the offerings, it’s the mindset of being intentional about what is offered. It’s the mindset of clarity and confidence that comes with being laser focused on what’s offered and not offering everything in the hopes that something is a fit.
  • When it comes to your sales strategy, what’s one thing you can remove? Give yourself permission to delete what isn’t working or isn’t optimized. Too many sales leaders and CEOs pursue strategies that aren’t working, because they already have significant time, resources, and finances invested, or they see the competition pursuing a similar path.
  • Use Voice of the Customer to learn what they really want. How many offerings make it to market where the customer wasn’t truly considered? How many processes are in your organization that make it more difficult for your clients to work with you? Voice of Customer processes can help you to learn what’s truly on the mind of your clients, improve their experience with you, and help you weed out solutions that are costing your company time and money.

In a world where we’re conditioned to always go for more, it’s counterintuitive to offer less. It can feel vulnerable to offer fewer choices because it’s not what our competition is doing. It can feel uncomfortable to write fewer proposals because there’s a false sense of security in doing more.

Elite sellers and sales leaders don’t fall for conventional wisdom. By intentionally focusing on less, you’ll actually create more (and lasting) sales results.

Revamp Your Sales Strategy with Strategic Simplicity

I am the leader in sales strategy and sales leadership coaching, helping you to design best-in-class sales programs that accelerate growth. To significantly improve the outcomes of your sales strategy, let’s schedule a conversation. Don’t let your competition get an advantage. Contact me to schedule a conversation.

 

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