Value-added selling means taking the initiative to proactively look for ways to increase the value of your products or services, as well as your team, to the customer. The first step in value-added selling is to understand clearly what your customer needs.
Organisations that are customer value focused have moved away from the outdated sales push model to the demand-driven pull model – they have abandoned transactional relationships with customers in favour of a relationship-based solution sales approach that focuses on customers' needs and provides products and services that address their underlying business problems.
Specialist sales structures
At Tarsus Distribution, our business development managers build sales leads based on the specific needs of channel partners and their end-customers. They assist our key account managers to develop an account plan with each partner, identifying end users, developing their pipeline, regularly reviewing the account plan to measure progress, and tracking partner growth and development.
At the same time, our key account managers work with the business development managers and our partners to detect and assess what is needed from an end user problem to be solved and then bring in Tarsus Distribution solution experts. For example, should a partner require a Dell storage expert, the key account manager will source the right person for the job based on listening to the customer’s needs, and then match that with the right solution and the right expert.
Our account managers have a combination of generalist knowledge and sales certification. They work with our pre-sales team who provide customer insights to build profiles of ideal clients and their patterns of behaviour to identify opportunities that are most likely to close. They assist with the scoping of deals, building specialist bills of materials for solutions, and ensuring that partners have the right vendor certification.
Identifying opportunities for partner hypergrowth
We refer to business development managers as net new revenue identifiers – they are there to hypergrow identified partners with our key account managers.
Our channel partners achieve an average of between 8% and 10% growth year-on-year. We are aiming to hypergrow a select list of 500 of these resellers – from a database of 4 000 – by 20% to 30% per year.
Companies that achieve this level of growth attribute it to being customer-driven first. That is why we are investing more skills, more people, more time, and more energy into those accounts that we believe are able to understand a customer's problem when they see it and then provide them with the right solution.
We can do this because our sales team has matured to the point where they are now listening to their partners. They are able to help our partners move from transactional to solution selling – it’s this value-based selling that will enable the channel to achieve digital transformation.
Sales certifications help our team identify sales opportunities and build their sales pipeline, engage customers in the right conversations to uncover their business needs, and begin to qualify and validate these opportunities.
Through the learning and development department of our business, we've created development paths for salespeople and up to 40% of their time is dedicated to learning. In addition to our own training programmes, Tarsus Distribution’s team of 120 salespeople have completed more than 300 sales certification courses related to the brands we represent over the last financial year. That is because we believe it is vital to allow salespeople the time and opportunity for self-development.
We believe that Tarsus Distribution may be the most sales-certified distributor in the country.
What are the benefits for the end customer?
End customers want resellers who know how to listen to what their needs are. They want salespeople to identify their true needs and bring in the right expertise to solve the problems that keep them awake at night. We are actively, purposefully developing a better pool of reseller partners who understand how to hear what customers want and not attempt to sell them just another widget.
It's vital for the channel to understand that Amazon has come to South Africa. Out-of-date, transaction-based traditional resellers who do not wake up and smell the coffee and develop a digital transformation strategy built on customer-first principles will go out of business.
It’s a serious warning that we advise SMBs to heed – with an increasing number of people and organisations choosing to shop online, Amazon could be triumphant because of the resources the online giant has allocated for the improvement of processes and policies relating to the customer experience. SMBs are faced with the choice to either listen to their customers and thrive, or eventually die.