We all know that the selling process has changed and that social media has played a big part in the shift.  Social selling is the common buzz today.  LinkedIn defines the 3 parts of social selling as:  Finding, Connecting & Engaging.

Yet, one aspect of social selling that is lesser-known is “Insight Selling”.  What is it and why is it important?

The Corporate Executive Board Company (CEB), a leading market advisory firm, suggests several fundamental dynamics that have occurred with buyers recently.

1)  There are more decision-makers (5.4 on average) involved in B2B purchases.

2)  They are more self-informed due to social media.

3)  They overwhelmingly ignore cold-call selling techniques.

Thus, the “new normal” customer learns from their own research as opposed to learning from suppliers.  That new customer also relies less on suppliers telling them how their needs can be met.

Instead, the customer of today has a sophisticated understanding of their needs and a well-informed assessment of their options in the market.    The CEB has concluded that this new age customer typically has studied 10-14 sources PRIOR to engaging with a supplier.  This customer is also nearly 60% decided PRIOR to calling for a meeting with a vendor.

In short, customers today want to involve a salesperson in the conversation “as late in the decision-making process as possible”!  That defines the sales challenge in today’s world.  What then is the solution or opportunity?

According to the CEB’s research, sellers place value on a company’s brand, the quality of their products (or service) and the pricing proposition.  But here is the Holy Grail….Customers want to made smarter by their vendors.

Put another way, customers want their vendors to inform about possible pitfalls in the market.  What dangers lurk ahead?  How can those challenges be prepared for or anticipated.  Does the vendor “have my back”?

Thus, who can deliver is still important.  More significant, however, is who best serves them in a shifting market.  Which supplier demonstrates that they are the best partner going forward?  Which one is most knowledgeable about industry trends?

Insight Selling is a part of social selling certainly.  Both are focused on building beneficial relationships.  Both are products of the social media revolution.  And both show that how you sell is more critical to success than what you sell.

For more information on this topic go to YouTube and view:

The Insight Selling Era Live Webcast with LinkedIn & CEB” by LinkedIn Sales Solutions

By Gary Kissel | LinkedIn Strategist | Speaker | Author