Selling After the Pandemic - Moving from Products to Services

Sourced from HBR April 2021

Rethink Customer Segmentation Among large B2B companies, the most common way to organize a sales force is by the size and potential of the customers. Enterprise accounts are typically the customers with the highest headcount (and the largest number of seat licenses); as such, they are the highest priority and are handled by the best salespeople. 

Restructure the Sales Organization Rethinking customer segmentation focuses on the question: Who are the company’s target customers? Once they are identified, the sales organization must focus on how to sell to them. The traditional sales process typically involves generating leads, qualifying prospects, demonstrating products, and closing sales. Many salespeople have spent decades learning and implementing- ing that routine. A consumption-based model requires a different process. 

Use SalesForce Management Instruments to Drive the Right Behavior Setting a strategy, segmenting the customer base, and creating the right organizational structure are big-picture requisites to a successful transformation of the sales function. To influence how salespeople interact with customers and targets on a day-to-day basis, sales managers must use the set of tools I call sales force management instruments: Hiring the right people, training and managing their performance effectively, and compensating them in a way that aligns their incentives with company strategy. 

As more organizations shift their sales strategy toward consumption-based pricing and SaaS models, they must recognize the complexity of the transformation they are attempting. They are changing all the variables in the formula “how to sell what to whom.” To increase their odds of success, firms must be ready to rethink their sales management and strategy the same way they reengineer their products.