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featureed image Published 2019-10-01, by Kellie Auman

The Three Cornerstones to Successful Prescriptive Sales

If you’ve ever found yourself spending more time staring at your Netflix queue trying to pick a show, rather than actually watching shows, you know how pernicious choice paralysis can be. We live in a paradoxical age: On one hand, we have access to more information than at any other time in human history, yet so often we lack the resources – or the energy – to sort through that information.

This absolutely holds true in B2B sales as well.  You undoubtedly feel pressured to provide as much information as possible to your clients, yet research has shown that too much information can actually result in dissatisfied customers, or even discourage sales. 

How do you reconcile this?  Through prescriptive sales practices.

Encourage Prescriptive Sales Within Your Ecosystem To Create Satisfied Customers

The core concept behind prescriptive sales is deceptively simple: anticipate your buyers’ needs and provide them the information they need before they ask for it – but only the minimum amount.

If this sounds like old-fashioned “push” sales tactics, that’s not incorrect. However, proper prescriptive sales in the digital age are based heavily on data and analytics. This isn’t some 19th Century snake oil salesman railroading local marks. This is taking your own detailed knowledge of your products and your customers, then tailoring your sales tactics and marketing materials to make the buyer’s journey as smooth and effortless as possible.

There are three key cornerstones to successful prescriptive sales:

1. Your materials should be candid and credible

Prescriptive sales materials don’t say “Buy our product,” because that sort of openly sales-y approach just gets buyers’ guards up. Instead, the materials should be straightforward and factual, discussing the problems your customers are likely to have, and solutions which exist. But don’t name names. Don’t promote yourself more than a bare minimum, and certainly don’t dunk on the competition.

2. When possible, reduce pain points and indecision

Fundamentally, prescriptive selling is about framing. You want to re-frame your buyers’ problems into concrete issues with equally concrete solutions. Whenever possible, turn the problems into hard numbers, so that you can then propose evidence-based solutions with equally hard numbers behind them.

3. Your solution should end up feeling like the natural choice

It’s a little like the movie Inception. You want the buyer to feel like they’re deciding to choose your product\service on their own, even though you’ve actually led them down the proverbial garden path so that’s the only valid option within the framework you’ve set up.

The key to making these goals achievable is, of course, hard data within your own organization. You need to have a genuinely solid understanding of your own customers and their motivations. As such, this approach can actually work extremely well within Account-Based Marketing (ABM) scenarios, since you’re dealing with individual people on a one-on-one basis in ABM. Likewise, you need to have a deep understanding of both your own products, as well as those of your competition, so that you can properly distinguish between them (again, without naming names) when discussing solutions.

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