“59% of buyers prefer to do research online instead of interacting with a sales rep because the rep pushes a sales agenda rather than helps solve a problem,” according to a Forrester study. Speaking specifically about complex sales, a recent study by Forrester suggested, “B2B marketing and sales leaders must plan for buyers who require sophisticated, consultative, and technology-enabled salespeople.”

What does a consultative approach look like? A RAIN Group study uncovered the top seven attributes that separate winners from second place finishers. All seven are consultative activities:

  • Educated me with the new ideas or perspectives
  • Collaborated with me
  • Persuaded me that we would achieve results
  • Listened to me
  • Understood my needs
  • Helped me avoid potential pitfalls
  • Crafted a compelling solution

This matters because it equates to better results. I have witnessed a solidly-skilled salesperson fail miserably while a subject matter expert with no formal sales skills yet with a natural consultative approach, closed multiple, high-value deals. Maybe this doesn’t hold true in every market but certainly with buyers who require sophisticated, consultative, and technology-enabled salespeople.