Monthly Archives: October 2015
In Part I of this series, I talked about the changing sales environment and how more buyers are buying than being sold. As a result, salespeople need to dig deep into buying motives to establish credibility and provide new ideas and insights to buyers.
One of the techniques that I used in my 30-year career in sales, including 15 years as a senior vice president of sales in the IT services industry, was to conduct a targeted dialogue with buyers. I would start by asking them to tell me about their top ten customers:
What are the common themes among their largest customers? Why do their customers continue to buy from them? Is it because of long-standing relationships, customer service, speed to market, or any other specific advantage? On the negative side, what about the top ten customers that left to go with a competitor? Are there any common themes among those who are gone?
Even though most buyers could not give good answers about their customers, I was able to gain credibility and position myself as a business partner who could provide value.
For me, it’s all about research and sales preparation before meeting with buyers. First, you have to know where they’re coming from, what’s going on with their company, who their competitors are, what markets they’re actively going after, and what the common problems are associated with these markets. You have to learn so much about » Continue Reading.
In every sales training class that I facilitate, I start by telling participants that they may consider my background either lucky or unfortunate for them. That’s because I’m not a “professional” trainer. What I am is a professional salesperson, with 30 years of experience under my belt. The last 15 of those years were spent as a senior vice president of sales in the IT services industry.
With this background, I have witnessed just about every sales scenario imaginable. And because I was responsible for premier accounts — those that billed in the top 40 — I developed an expert ability to deal with large, complex sales with long buying cycles.
During my career, I have also witnessed dramatic changes in B2B selling, as the availability of information has created more sophisticated and informed buyers. In my sales days, customers relied on me to provide them with information. Now, customers want salespeople to validate information that they’ve discovered on their own.
The way I describe today’s selling environment is that “more buyers are buying than being sold.” We have all seen these numbers previously, but they are worth communicating again. According to SiriusDecisions, buyers now digitally complete 67% of their decision processes before ever contacting a salesperson. Forrester Research goes even further, citing that 60% to 90% of the buyer’s journey occurs before he/she ever engages a potential provider.
Another important change is the number of people involved » Continue Reading.
When we work with clients to create a common language and sales process, that’s just the start. A process by itself is just a process. It needs to be absorbed and put into practice. It needs to become part of day-to-day behaviors. It needs to be second nature.
Depending on the organization, this can be straightforward or complex, depending on how well sales professionals understand what they’re doing as they go from one step to the next.
That’s where Richardson sales training, reinforcement, and coaching come in. By linking the sales process and sales training, participants can see what they are currently doing, how it fits within the desired behaviors, and where adjustments are needed. A process that may have seemed overwhelming to start becomes a welcome roadmap that breaks down each step, and they can see how the things that they currently do fit within the overall scope.
At the end of training sessions, I’ve had participants tell me the structure of the sales process is “awesome” because now they have something to guide what they’re doing. They know that they can always refer back to the steps of the sales process and make adjustments, as necessary, for their specific situation.
It certainly is possible to train sales people without linking content to a sales process. The training would incorporate information from interviews with sales professionals and managers of the activities in the process of » Continue Reading.
Just a quick reminder that our research survey on Teamwork in Selling will be closing on Friday, October 23rd at 4:00 est.
We are very interested in your feedback on this topic so please click here to complete this short survey. After completing the survey, you will have a chance to enter your contact information to receive a copy of the report, and to become eligible to win a Nike Fuelband.
How Can a Common Vocabulary Create Shorter Sales Cycles?
At Richardson, we place great stock in creating a common language and a customized sales process for consistency across a client organization. The reason is simple: results. We continually see benefits in terms of creating sales success and shorter sales cycles.
Why does language — vocabulary — matter so much? What is the big deal if one person talks about pursuing a lead, while another talks about prospects, and a third an opportunity. They all mean the same thing, don’t they?
Similarly, some sales teams talk about a close, others about gaining agreement or signing contracts. Again, are they the same thing? Maybe or maybe not.
Whenever members of the same team use different words to describe what may be similar activities, they can confuse clients and coworkers, particularly those who work in global organizations.
Consider the case of a large US company that has grown by acquisition, with local offices in Europe and Asia. Say the company then contracts with a global supplier that also has a US headquarters and branches around the world. The expectation at the headquarters level is for consistency across all locations in terms of service, the relationship, and the overall value provided. But, if the local offices in Japan or India hear different vocabulary than what was used in the US, it can make the supplier look unorganized and create confusion with the client. » Continue Reading.