Disruptive selling is the process of selling a solution that is so innovative and new that it is disrupting the status quo in the market space. Some historic examples of these are companies like Apple when they introduced the iPhone. Another example in the B2B sales context is Salesforce who popularized cloud CRMs. Now, having your CRM in the cloud is very commonplace but there was a time when Salesforce was considered an extremely innovative solution and required a disruptive approach to selling.
Here are three techniques to follow when selling a product that is innovative and challenging the status quo:
The products that require disruptive selling techniques are innovative. When a solution is innovative, it means that the intended buyer has most likely never even considered that sort of solution. A recent example would be the adoption of AI. Most companies now claim to have some sort of AI product or solution integrated into how they do business. Not too long ago, this was an entirely foreign concept that executive buyers had no frame of reference for.
By contrast, an established segment of the market like payroll software is so commonplace that most companies either have a solution in place or have an established process for evaluating payroll software that fits their needs. This means that customers for products in established markets have a predictable pattern of acquiring a solution, outgrowing it and buying something else to replace it.
This sort of established sales cycle does not exist when selling an innovative solution. The prospect has no process for entering an active buying cycle. Therefore, a critical part of disruptive selling is recognizing that no customer out there will truly be in an active buying cycle for the disruptive solution. Therefore, it is the sales person’s job to create enough curiosity to generate an active buying cycle.
When generating an active buying cycle among a group of prospects, it comes down to generating curiosity. The salesperson has to identify the status quo at the company. This will inform the seller of the problems the company is facing and in the case of disruptive selling, the seller also has to look for problems the company has missed but could be solved by their innovative solution.
In a disruptive sales cycle, the seller has to take that information and highlight how the problems that executives have ignored or not even identified could hurt them in the long term. This will spark the curiosity that is needed for a seller to paint a vision of what is possible. Remember, in a disruptive sale, the product is innovative so the buyer has never considered the possibilities of that solution. It is the salesperson’s job to paint a clear picture of what is possible through their innovative solution.
If the salesperson paints an enticing enough picture of what the company can achieve with their solution, there can be enough urgency within the decision makers to generate an active buying cycle for the new product or solution.
If sellers establish enough curiosity to present the value that the innovative solution provides, they might be successful at closing the deal. However, this is not enough. If the solution is highly innovative, it likely means that the client does not have the internal structure in place to make the most of the innovative solution.
Therefore, even after the deal has closed, companies in a disruptive selling environment need to be diligent about implementation. They need to make sure the customer is educated on how to use the solution and how to get the most out of it. If the customer buys the product but does not use it enough to get real value out of it, they will not be renewing and all the effort sales people put in to get in the door will have been wasted.
Funnel Clarity’s disruptive selling course is called Selling In A New Market Space©. If you want to learn more about how you or your team can be successful in selling an innovative solution, please reach out to us for a free consultation.
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