The Changing Customer Contract: A New Role for Sales

By: Gary Tubridy Chief Sales Executive Events

Customer expectations have changed. The balance of power has shifted from the seller to the buyer. This matters greatly to both sales organizations and their leaders. The extent of this change and what to do about it must be articulated — quickly. In the 2016 Forum Series, Alexander Group will explore what empowered customers now expect of their vendors and, more important, what top sales organizations are doing to not just meet, but exceed these expectations in the pursuit of extraordinary revenue growth.

Two tectonic changes in the market have occurred

1. Customers have much more information

Not only do customers have access to product details, but they can compare these with the alternatives. They can easily find out what other customers say about a company and its products, and publicly rate their buying experience. This has allowed buyers to make the most of their buying decisions with little or no seller input.

2. Decision-making is more complex

New decision-makers with divergent buying criteria have emerged:
–    Procurement is a power center. Measured on the discount it can extract from sellers, procurement demands lower prices and better terms.
–    Functional executives have also emerged. Measured on functional efficiency and effectiveness, these buyers need to know how products will help them solve known (and unknown) business problems and why one seller’s approach is superior to the alternatives.

Sellers must satisfy both sides of this complex buying equation.

The 2016 CSE Forum Series will explore how these changes affect customer expectations. Sales leaders must understand that the contract between buyers and sellers has been fundamentally altered. Today’s buyer expects more…lots more:
AGI-2016-CSE-Theme-Graphs-OVERVIEW-2We will examine what great sales organizations are doing as a result of this.

The best sales organizations build a “revenue generation engine” that seamlessly meshes the skills of Sales, Operations, Marketing and Service to deliver:
a.    Products that buyers want,
b.    Messages that resonate with them, and
c.    Value that leads to loyalty

How are they building such a capability? Growth-minded sales organizations…

  • Team more closely with Field Marketing to:
    – Better define segments based on customer need
    – Exert more influence over marketing promotion and lead generation
    – Craft value propositions that resonate with emerging customers
  • Build more robust Sales Ops functions to improve targeting and enable precision selling
  • Acquire and innovatively deploy deep, relevant business expertise
  • Dialogue with Product Marketing to better influence the product pipeline
  • Engage with the C-suite to integrate the customer point of view into strategic planning

Join us at the 2016 Forum Series to explore the elements of this new contract with the customer — and the new role that sales must play to live up to its terms and conditions.

Strategy Forum: New York, May 3-4
Operations Forum: Chicago, June 14-15
Annual Forum: Palm Beach, Nov 16-18

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Gary Tubridy

Gary Tubridy is a senior vice president of the Alexander Group and the general manager in charge of the firm’s management consulting business. Gary’s consulting work is focused on increasing marketing and sales effectiveness with particular emphasis in technology and medical products industries. Gary has deep expertise in diagnosing sales management issues and helping clients execute action plans to improve results. His research is focused on best practices of leading sales organizations in North America with particular emphasis on sales force transformation and the role of sales leadership. He leads the Alexander Group executive events series and hosts the Operations and Executive Forums. He is one of three founding stockholders of the Alexander Group.

Gary has been with the Alexander Group for over 35 years. Prior to that, Gary was in sales with the IBM Corporation. Gary holds a B.A. from Brown University and an MBA from the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University.