The MANIA sales research project contributes to the sales success of Finnish companies as well as various fields of science. The results section presents the key findings for companies to be utilized in sales development efforts.
 
First ten themes of research findings and managerial implications:

  1. Seller-Buyer expectations: gaps and alignment needed
  2. Initial sales interaction with new customers
  3. Interaction in successful sales meetings
  4. Value co-creation levels in a sales dialogue
  5. Stereotypes maybe harmful or can be utilized
  6. Challenging customers’ fixed mind-set
  7. Salespeople’s knowing-doing gaps in professional sales
  8. Psychological skills in professional sales work
  9. The fit and mix of seller vs. buyer personality profiles
  10. Successful selling requires a sales oriented organization

1. Seller-Buyer expectations: gaps

Customers expect more:

  • In-depth customer insight
  • Innovative approach
  • Organizations's commitment
  • Long-term partnership
  • Professionalism

Buyers and sellers expect more:

  • Knowledge / expertise
  • Creating a dialogue
  • Adaptability and tailoring

Salespeople expect more:

  • Competitive solutions
  • Reasonable pricing
  • Personal relationships
2. Initial sales interaction with new customers Building rapport and starting positively
  • Everything what salespeople do in the beginning, effects the amount of credibility and influence trough the sales process
  • Strong rapport in the beginning can compensate for weaknesses later
  • Companies should re-focus activities from salesperson centric actions to more customer-centric responsive and collaborative actions
Typical means that can work:
  1. Mental orientation
  2. Demonstrating preparation
  3. Informality and originality
  4. Collaborative and real small-talk
  5. Demonstrating similarity (observing & adapting)
  6. Reacting and continuing customer’s clues
  7. Gently acknowledge and directly handle negative issues
3. Interaction in successful sales meetings

4. Value co-creation levels in a sales dialogue

5. Stereotypes may be harmful or can be utilized

Regardless of the fact that sales people continuously try to prevent behaving like a 'stereotype salesman', customers keep holding on their partly stereotyped opinions. Sales people stereotypes as told by byers:

Furthermore, sales people continuously try to prevent having stereotypes of customers, however, they exist. Buyers stereotypes as told by sales people:

6. Challenging customers' fixed mindset

A way to cope with challenging customer's fixed mindset:

7.Salespeople's knowing-doing gap in professional sales Transforming knowing into everyday doing:
  • Variation in terms of awareness and adoption of recent selling concepts and models between case organizations
  • Salespeople often know what they need / what they are expected to do – however, they don’t always do it (at least according to customers)
    • Disagreements on usefulness or relevance of the “official” processes and practices
  • Typical gaps: active listening, solution adaptation, follow-up during the sales process and in use phase

To remove the gaps, the following points may help: contextualizing the models further, creating “easier” work routines, and having practice and recurrent reflection points

8. Psychological skills in professional sales work

Psychological capital as a basis for the "attitude"

  • Shared attitude
  • A meta-level skill
  • Open to development on individual and organizational levels

Psychological skills of top performance:

9. The fit and mix of seller vs. buyer personality profiles The mix and fit of personality profiles:
  • Heterogenic sales group is more innovative than homogenic: not a certain profile type
    • Easier to be innovative
    • Possibility to adapt to different customer profiles
  • The most common personality type among salespeople is ST / Extrovert
    • Most important development aspect: skill of genuinely listening to the customer
  • Based on MBTI, customers expect well organised actions
    • There are lot of P types among salespeople for whom it is more natural to be flexible and postpone actions
Personal profiles - Salespeople vs. Customers

MBTI-taulukko-buyer-seller.png

10. Successful selling requires a sales oriented organization