One of the biggest challenges faced by companies in today’s environment is successfully commercialising new innovations. Senior leaders are extremely confident that their teams can develop new ideas, products and services. However, they are less confident that they can then sell these new innovations to the customer.
So why do corporations struggle to sell new innovations to customers?
Greater time investment
Selling new products requires more training for sales people, as well as consuming more attention from potential customers than when selling established goods and products. When selling new products more time is spent educating customers on the value that the new product will bring. Often new products are disruptive, which requires sales teams to spend a large amount of time convincing the customers that they should replace their existing business practices with the new ones being proposed.
Harder to close
When selling new products the resistance to the sale will often occur later in the process. Why? Because customers are always curious to hear about new innovations but are also more reluctant to write a cheque for an unproven product. During the later stages of the sales cycle it is also very likely that the buying team becomes bigger with more decision makers being introduced into the process. This further complicates the sale as the sales team have to once again convince the new buying team about the benefits of the product.
Greater need for training
Selling new products requires organizations to invest heavily in intensive training for the sales people in order to ensure that they develop a deep understanding about the new products . However, it is often the case that organizations don’t do enough to help sales people navigate this complex process, as they don't appreciate the increased difficulty with selling new products, in comparison to existing ones.
What are the key traits need to successfully sell new products?
Selling new products requires salespeople to exhibit more resolve than when selling existing products. Setbacks often occur late in the process, causing salespeople to feel deflated. In order to successfully sell new products, corporations must invest in salespeople that are both resilient and adverse to setbacks.
Willingness to learn
Selling new products requires salespeople that are willing to learn about new technologies and have a desire to invest a good amount of time into fully understanding the product and how it could benefit the customer.
A recent study also found that individuals with a strong learning orientation were confident and eager to meet the challenge of selling a new and unproven product (Chen et al).
Willingness to play the long game
The most successful salespeople invest their time in identifying good prospects that are likely to adopt the new innovations. These individuals are more focused on building long-term relationships with warm leads, rather than look for short-term wins that are likely to run out of steam.
Adaptable to feedback from customers
New products have not been proven and are likely to change with feedback from customers.
The most successful salespeople will listen to the market and adapt their sales strategy accordingly.
Selling new products is essential for companies looking to disrupt industries and stay relevant in an era where industries are changing rapidly. In order to be successful in the long-term, companies must invest in salespeople that possess the characteristics to commercialising innovative solutions.
Arjun Sondhi is Digital & Brand Director at BMC Global Services