Viewing Posts for: Andrea R. Grodnitzky
It’s common for sales leaders (and salespeople themselves) to look to their large, strategic customers year after year to sustain or drive increased revenue performance. However, the availability of options, decreasing customer loyalty, higher expectations and constant competitive threats are making forecasted business from your best customers anything but a certainty. All too often, account growth strategy and plans are isolated events and are missing one critical component – the buyer.
An enterprise-wide, customer-centric approach to working with strategic accounts is a mainstay of sales organizations that understand that markets change but that customers are always relevant. Because the business environment in which your customers operate has become more challenging, salespeople need to increase their proficiency in identifying and meeting needs to have credibility as a trusted advisor, one who helps the customer decide how to buy and doesn’t just sell.
4 FACTORS AFFECTING ACCOUNT GROWTH STRATEGY (1) Renewed Emphasis on Price
Price has always been important in business. In today’s environment, funding is scrutinized. Customers feel like they should look longer and harder to justify why they are buying a particular solution at a specific price. As pricing pressures increase, more and more firms find customers trying to “commoditize” the solutions that suppliers offer.
(2) Greater Complexity
The business environment has become increasingly complex. An IBM study of more than 1,500 CEOs cited increasing complexity as a major challenge to the managerial and leadership ranks » Continue Reading.
The ability of sellers to form teams that add value and present a compelling case to buyers is no longer optional but is required in today’s complex sales environment.
For many sellers, executing a successful team presentation might feel like the luck-of-the-draw, but this is simply not the case. Richardson Senior Consultant and Trainer Michael Dalis demystifies team selling in his new book Sell Like a Team: The Blueprint for Building Teams That Win Big at High-Stakes Meetings.
Team Selling Skills Unlock Revenue
Prior to the great recession and the proliferation of online information sources, team selling was often limited to blockbuster business-to-business sales pitches, but now every sales person in every industry must have the ability to form an effective team to win business. In fact, according to Harvard Business Review, “… the number of people involved in B2B solutions purchases has climbed from an average of 5.4 two years ago to 6.8 today.”
Sell Like a Team offers practical insights into the importance of developing the ability to form effective selling teams that are comprised of both sellers and non-sellers.
According to Dalis:
“… As sellers, we tend to focus on getting our salespeople ready. The sale is often made by more than one person … I’ve got to have a senior person, a subject matter expert, and a technology specialist come and join me. They haven’t had sales training, but they are » Continue Reading.
Richardson’s annual research survey of field reps, senior sales professionals, and sales leaders across industries aims to paint a clear picture of existing sales challenges and how they are evolving. We asked 350 sales professionals to tell us about the biggest challenges their buyers face when making purchasing decisions.
26% said combating the status quo would be the greatest challenge their buyers face making purchasing decisions in 2017 21% said comparing their options would be the greatest challenge their buyers face making purchasing decisions in 2017 16% said building internal consensus would be the greatest challenge their buyers face making purchasing decisions in 2017
Buyers can be too comfortable with the status quo, adverse to the risk of something new and hesitant to stretch outside of their current comfort zones. They may be tired of change or skeptical. Even those who welcome change may feel degrees of concern, stress, or anxiety.
Comparing options is made increasingly complex with the more information there is to consider. When sellers present something that buyers consider irrelevant or not tied to their specific issues, it only adds to the noise in decision making.
With more decisions being made by committee, building internal consensus grows more difficult. Sellers who engage all stakeholders, providing relevant insights and demonstrating value, can help move the process along.
Richardson’s Insights into Buyers’ Decisions
Creating a compelling case to combat the status quo doesn’t just mean sharing impact data. As » Continue Reading.
Richardson’s annual research survey of field reps, senior sales professionals, and sales leaders across industries aims to paint a clear picture of existing sales challenges and how they are evolving. One of the study questions explored challenges sellers face in closing sales. We asked 350 sales professionals to tell us what would be their most difficult challenge in closing sales deals in 2017. Responders provided the following answers:
24% of respondents said competing against a low-cost provider would be their greatest challenge to closing sales deals in 2017 19% of respondents said positioning competing value propositions would be their greatest challenge to closing sales deals in 2017 16% of respondents said creating a compelling case for change to avoid a “no-decision” would be their greatest challenge to closing sales deals in 2017
While the top three challenges remain the same year to year, the percentages add color to the story. In 2016, “competing against a low-cost provider” took 47% of the responses, showing just how keenly this challenge was perceived. One year later, the ranking among all three challenges is more even, an indication that sellers realize the importance and interplay of several elements involved in closing deals. Creating a compelling case against stalled decisions or “no-decisions” takes understanding the customer’s buying cycle and helping customers sort through what matters most in order to find value among the options.
Richardson’s Closing Sales Deals Insights
In today’s information-rich environment, buyers have the » Continue Reading.
The goal of developmental sales coaching is to create an environment where team members feel self-motivated to grow, excel, and take greater responsibility for what they do.
Ensure that the seller talks first, last, and most: Developmental sales coaching helps sellers move toward more self-motivated behavior because it meets our inherent psychological needs for: Autonomy: Asking questions to help sellers self-assess and self-discover ways to improve performance gives team members a better sense of control versus telling them what to do. Relatedness: Creating a safe, nonjudgmental environment to learn and grow builds trust and strengthens relationships. Competence: Focusing on addressing performance needs helps seller to feel mastery over their work environment and increases their confidence. Ask more than tell: The heart of the coaching conversation lies in the manager’s ability to engage in a collaborative process to help sellers self-assess and self-discover ways to leverage strengths and improve performance through effective problem-solving. The benefits of coaching by asking are: Shows respect for the team member Opens conversations, which reveals more and better information for both the manager and seller to accurately diagnose needs Gives the manager a chance to identify gaps in their own thinking before giving feedback Shortens the coaching conversation by reducing defensiveness and getting to the underlying issue quickly Increases seller ownership of and buy-in to the solution Helps sellers become stronger problem solvers and more independent by using the process itself to self-coach Gives the » Continue Reading.
Making the transition to more effective coaching typically involves changing the conversation. It’s not about having more conversations. It’s about changing the dynamics of the conversation from telling and directing to collaborative problem solving, where you help team members self-assess and self-discover ways to leverage strengths and improve performance.
Let’s begin with the core tenets that underpin Richardson’s sales coaching methodology:
Salespeople should be involved and responsible for their own performance and development. Every person has blind spots that cannot be seen clearly or completely. To see a full, sharp picture, everyone needs an outside perspective. A successful coaching interaction opens perspective for both the salesperson and the sales manager. The sales manager’s role as coach is to be a thought partner and resource — to ask questions, listen, and learn — and to offer perspective with the goal of helping the team member gain insight and inspiration to grow and strengthen performance. Trust is essential. While the focus of the conversation is on the business issues, the essence of a coaching interaction can be deeply personal and emotional. The salesperson must trust that the sales manager’s intent is to help and support, not criticize, judge, or control. A key opportunity for performance improvement lies in turning routine management inspections into coachable moments. Coachable moments exist everywhere in our daily interactions and routines. Taking advantage of planned and unplanned coachable moments is the cornerstone of a manager’s success in » Continue Reading.
If the path to sales success runs through the team and coaching is so critical, then why is it so hard to build a sustained coaching culture? In our work with thousands of front-line sales managers, we have heard every reason — not enough time, too many competing priorities, lack of trust in the team, etc. And yet, when you peel those reasons away, the problem persists. To truly build a sustained and high-performance coaching culture, one must first understand the true barriers that prevent success.
1. Sales Managers Often Can’t See the Forrest for the Trees
Leading a sales team is about balancing the long- and short-terms priorities to set the team up for sustained success. A sales manager needs a team of sellers who are accountable, engaged, and independent; and yet, building that kind of team means taking a strategic approach to high performance.
Most sales managers are primarily focused on numbers and often fall back to tactics and behaviors that might save the month but will prevent long-term, sustained growth. Focusing on learning and accelerating change through coaching will drive success, but it requires focus and discipline, which get tested and compromised under intense pressure.
Many managers think they are effectively coaching when in fact, they are not — they are directing, telling, and often doing the work themselves. Approaches to “coaching” fall on a continuum from directive coaching, where the coach serves as an expert, telling » Continue Reading.
Sales coaching is the key to sales success and improving the performance of the sales organization. It is the most important job a sales manager has.
It takes a certain kind of individual to step into a sales manager role — and an even more unique one to be successful at it. Most sales managers know that they have to drive performance through their team if they are ever to have a shot at making their goal. A team goal simply can’t be achieved by one single sales manager. Yet, we often see sales managers making Herculean efforts and resorting to hero tactics to win deals for their team members. Many times, they are putting in the longest hours — more than their direct reports. They put themselves in front of the customer when the stakes are high. They consistently have the monkey on their back.
If you ask a sales manager if coaching is an important aspect of their role, most are sure to agree that it is. It is difficult to find someone who disagrees with the value of coaching. However, in the fast-paced, modern sales environment, where almost everyone has more priorities, more initiatives, more customer issues, and more administrative work, “… it is easy for people to justify not making time for developmental activities.” (Conger, 2013)