Are You A Trusted Advisor?
By the time the average customer reaches out to a company or is contacted by a sales rep, that customer's purchase decision is almost over.Matt Dixon, author, The Challenger Sale
Sales is a wonderful profession, filled with people who are brilliant. But also those who are… less so.
I have a friend in sales who is truly a “trusted advisor.” He is contacted directly by potential buyers—they don’t want a sales demo, they want advice. And because he knows the industry and the products serving that industry, he can understand their problems and recommend a solution, whether from his firm or another.
The best sales people are what I call "brother-in-law sales reps." They understand both the client and the products well enough to explain which product can solve the client’s problem. Just like if your brother-in-law was an expert in cars, he wouldn't say "buy this thing because I get a commission," or “buy this because it’s what I would buy myself.” Instead he'd ask, "Tell me about how you drive. Do you pull a trailer? Do you have kids? Do you take long car trips?" In short, he'd help you clarify your requirements and help select the car that best fits your lifestyle.
A company wanting to be their industry’s “trusted advisor” must build sales teams with product, industry, and domain expertise. That’s why many firms hire one sales engineer for each sales rep—one person to build and maintain the relationship and one to represent the technology and domain. (And that’s why companies who are under-staffed in sales engineering rely too heavily on product management for expertise.)
Helping sales people isn't product management; enabling sales teams is. Look for ways to empower your sales teams with sales enablement tools.
Sales teams who can sincerely help customers are gold.