Category Archives: Insight Selling
Challenger Selling: “Courageous Questions” Differ from “Grenades”
Many sales leaders are urging their salespeople to adopt a challenger selling methodology and ask “challenging” questions to have effective sales meetings with prospects and clients. The intent is to be more provocative, create differentiation in a crowded market, provide insight, and hopefully add more value to the conversation. This post is designed to share some mistakes I have been seeing with this approach and to offer suggestions for properly asking “courageous questions” in an effective sales meeting.
Insight Selling: Essential Skills for Shaping and Creating Sales Opportunities
Opportunities to grow your business with a major account come in three different modes: Respond, Shape, and Create.
When you respond to an opportunity, the customer has already identified the issue, the solution, and the expected outcomes. Now, a provider is sought. This is the most reactive style of account development. The scope and budget are usually already set. Pressures on both price and competition are often high. By no means should you ignore such opportunities. Flexibility is a key element of business. You have to be able to respond as well as initiate. But, responding is not the best way to develop and grow a business relationship.
Insight Selling – How to Move Beyond an Inward Focus and a Product-based Message
The Problem – Ultra Informed Buyers
Today’s buyers are savvier than ever, which makes selling to them a greater challenge for sales reps and teams. Whether they’re interested in a one-off transaction for a particular product or service, or a long-term strategic partnership, customers from companies of any size and industry can research just about anything they desire online, which puts them in a position of strength over sellers.
If your salespeople are selling the same old products the same old way, then you could very well be deep in a rut. Have you backed yourself into a corner as a commoditized order fulfillment broker rather than someone who can truly add value?
Value Strategy: The Foundation of Collaborative Account Development
Sales people must fully understand a client’s industry and business in order to bring real value to the client. This brings something into play called the value strategy, the way to gain this understanding. Value strategy is a plan of action designed to identify, generate, communicate and deliver the value that your company brings to the client.
Decision-making Needs Room for Big Data and Emotions
Few people need convincing that big data is not a phenomenon or fad. The ability to collect, track, measure, and analyze vast amounts of information to know more about your business, including sales, customer habits and trends, internal business processes, and supply chains, is too much to pass up. In fact, it’s often more than most businesses can handle. It’s not industry- or function-specific either — a quick scan of headlines across trade publications reveals that taking advantage of big data is on everyone’s mind.
Insight Selling: The Next Frontier of Sales and Marketing Alignment
If you think back five or ten years, the focus of sales and marketing alignment at that time was on the sales process. The emergence of usable CRM systems like Salesforce.com and marketing automation platforms like Eloqua and Marketo enabled tracking across the customer lifecycle from lead to close and beyond. As companies made investments in these sales and marketing platforms, it made sense to agree on a single integrated process enabled by the integrated systems and operationalized through concepts like the “lead waterfall,” marketing qualified leads, sales accepted leads, service level agreements, and the sales funnel. Many organizations are making great progress in this area, and others no doubt have a ways to go. However, from an operational standpoint, there’s been tremendous progress.
Abused Stats and Figures: Maintain a Healthy Degree of Skepticism 100% of the Time
Stats and figures help people make decisions or convince others to make a choice. Whether you’re a sales rep or a consumer, these numbers can be beneficial, but they are also easily misunderstood, misrepresented, or abused.
Uri Simonsohn, a research psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, sensed that something was amiss with several sets of research findings published in his field. Upon investigating, he discovered that the studies’ authors had taken liberties with the data and were forced to back away from their published articles. For his efforts, he was labeled a “data vigilante,” which paints a portrait (either white hat or black hat, depending on your views), but more importantly, presents us all with cautionary advice: be careful how you use and interpret data and statistics. (See the full article “The Data Vigilante” by Christopher Shea in The Atlantic from November 28, 2012.)
The article in The Atlantic offers a somber comparison between massaging data to suit your study’s needs and doping by professional athletes: “Outright fraud is probably rare. Data manipulation is undoubtedly more common—and surely extends to other subjects dependent on statistical study… Worse, sloppy statistics are ‘like steroids in baseball’: Throughout the affected fields, researchers who are too intellectually honest to use these tricks will publish less, and may perish. Meanwhile, the less fastidious flourish.” In essence, cheaters with » Continue Reading.