What Do Reps Believe Makes A Meeting Successful?

Do salespeople in different roles (e.g., strategic accounts, geographic, inside sales) and with different levels of experience have different perspectives on selling? Not significantly, according to our Q1 2012 North American Technology Seller Insight Online Survey.

Our recently published report “What Do Reps Believe Makes A Meeting Successful?” illuminates how similar the perspectives of sellers in different roles and with different levels of experience really are. If your company has one kind of sales role and one very consistent type of buyer, and they are well aligned, then this data may not much matter to you. But if you have different roles and types of buyer, then it’s worth examining the data in this report.

We found that three-fourths of salespeople agree that the most important aspect of a successful meeting with prospective buyers is their ability to understand the buyers’ business issues and share a way to solve them. The thing is, Forrester’s Q4 2012 Global Executive Buyer Insight Online Survey data, and interviews with executive buyers, clearly illuminate that the majority of buyers believe that salespeople are not successful in meetings with them. 

What’s inferred from our data and ongoing conversations with clients is that salespeople in different roles, sales segments, and with different levels of experience are being equipped by their organizations with training, content, and sales tools that are the virtually the same, despite the fact that sellers in different roles meet with buyers that have very different communication expectations. So what sales reps believe makes a meeting successful is based on their training, and it is frequently misaligned with buyers’ needs.


Couldn’t agree more with this

Couldn’t agree more with this report – for a client to say they have had a great meeting they must feel that the sales person has left the meeting deeply understanding their problems and needs – even helped them clarify their thinking. However, although we know this, when a sales person is under pressure, it’s all too easy to forget this and jump to our agenda and start pushing product and services. The trick is to train your people to break the ‘solutions led’ habit and get into the mind-set of ‘asking one more question’. More difficult than you think

Forrester's new Sales onboarding model - Mark Lindwall's webinar

David. Thanks for your comment. You brought up a great point regarding stickiness or sustainability of new behaviors that we want from reps to engage buyers with empathy. I'll be writing new reports on this starting in Q2 if this year and, in addition, please join my webinar on January 30th (or listen to the recording) where I'll be introducing an innovative new sales force development framework. You can register here: http://ow.ly/t2yBY. We'll be diving into this more deeply at our Sales Enablement Forum (http://ow.ly/t4dWE). I hope that you can make both events!