Do your direct sales staff and channel partners have the support they need to close new business for you?
Many semiconductor supply chain companies have to answer “no” to this question. If that’s your answer too, you are probably missing sales opportunities or giving more away in your deal negotiations than you have to.
We believe that semiconductor suppliers generally are leaving money on the table because they’re not doing enough on the front end of the sales cycle to shape buyer perception and to give their sales teams the tools they need.
It’s all about credibility. To get maximum notice and traction in the complex semiconductor sales cycle, your product line needs to have a credible story to convince buyers that it is the right solution to address their needs.
Here are 5 essential strategies for influencing buyers and closing more deals:
1. Identify Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
The key to effective business development is crafting and articulating a persuasive and unique selling proposition for your product. It should clearly state how your product will solve your customer’s problem. A good USP doesn’t focus on features. It focuses on what problem you’re going to solve for your customers that nobody else can solve as well. Your USP should also counter the perceived strengths or specific applications that your competitor is known for.
2. Build or Reinforce Your Brand
It’s expensive to build and maintain brand awareness in a diverse and fragmented marketplace. But this doesn’t mean you can ignore branding. It’s about much more than awareness. It’s about perception. And credibility. It is the art and science of ensuring that your company and products are visible and correctly positioned in the marketplace. Good branding requires attention to everything — pricing, messaging, your website, your sales literature.
3. Make the Business Case for Your Technology
A lot of sales materials fall into the features trap. They look inward, focusing on all the technical feats that the engineers have achieved with the new product or service. They leave to the sales force and the potential customer the challenge of translating that into business benefits. If you want to help your sales force be effective, give them the tools they need. Show how your technology will solve real customer business needs.
4. Invest in Integrated Messaging
Even if your target includes only a small handful of potential buyers, you should always seek to excite them and inform them and persuade them at every touchpoint with your company or your channel partners. Look at EDA provider Synopsys and fabless leader Qualcomm, who are both very aggressive in creating integrated communications campaigns for their products. It helps your sales team open doors, and facilitates effective conversations with prospective customers.
5. Rev Up Your Sales Engine with Persuasive Content
Quality content is critical to shaping perception. It includes what you share publicly — on the Web, in the trade press, at expos and shows — and privately, such as price lists and technical details offered through secure channels. Data sheets, white papers and articles, presentations, multimedia, and interactive conversations on blogs, and social media — all are being used to build and reinforce brand awareness and support sales.
Shaping market perception is more about consistent effort than anything else. Many companies sell themselves short by leaping into sales efforts with the idea that the technology will be so enticing it will almost sell itself.
We acknowledge that price negotiations are a major part of most industry sales cycles. But we believe you can do better in the deal stage, too, and hang onto more margin — if you shape the customer perception carefully from the get-go.