Breaking out of the trap: your people are the key to sales success

How 'accelerator sellers' are helping B2B sales and marketing teams break free from running in place.


Published on: September 2019

Written by: Andrés von der Walde

Determined to win the game of chess, Alice runs at full speed to advance.

However, she doesn’t seem to move at all. Watching from afar, the Red Queen says to Alice: “Such a slow pace! Here, to remain in the same place, you must run at least that fast.”

This experience of running in place as described by Lewis Carroll in Alice Through the Looking Glass is not uncommon for many B2B sales and marketing leaders of large multinationals today. It seems like the business world is speeding up. Although these leaders constantly deploy new sales strategies and – like Alice – apply the maximum effort to win, their ability to generate a difference in the market is increasingly limited. Their results do not take off. It seems like they are running in place…

There are multiple reasons for this. During the recession, customers introduced important mechanisms for rationalizing spending, which are now a part of standard sales processes today. Sales cycles are also longer and more complex, and larger numbers of people are involved in the purchasing process. New competitors have entered the market, and customers are less loyal to their providers of reference. In a digital world, buyers have more information than ever, which means increased complexity, while corporate priorities are constantly changing. In general, there is the perception that offers are being commoditized. All these factors lead to what we call “the buying paradox:” where buying decisions occur more slowly despite the desire for agility.

Faced with this scenario, stakeholders look for new perspectives. Clearly, effort is not the issue. It’s about working in a different way.

Leading companies today go beyond identifying problems and proposing “solutions.”

Companies that stand out have moved beyond identifying problems and proposing “solutions.” Instead, leading companies focus on understanding the business results their clients want to achieve, and then act as a partner to accelerate the results.

Therefore, the solution to stop running in place exists. However, as in most cases, the devil is in the details. Companies that put together the best sales strategies often fail at the time of execution because their teams lack the right skillset to execute.

Your people are the key to sales success.

Years of research and experience have provided a strong perspective on what great selling looks like in this new market environment: Accelerator sellers. Accelerator sellers are individuals who engage customers and prioritize sales activities by leveraging a deep mastery of business and people dynamics. These sellers make value personal. They display capabilities such as:

  • Aligning of stakeholders
  • Helping customers manage complexity and changing priorities
  • Inspiring confident and speedier customer decision-making
  • Driving customer results

Ultimately the “how” is critical, ensuring that once you have defined your sales strategy, your sales teams are aligned, prepared, and equipped with the capabilities to execute the strategy. As with many things in life, your people are the key to success.

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