Category Archives: Sales Strategy
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.
If you win accounts only to lose them at contract renewal, you are not managing your accounts well, if at all. There are three components of an effective account management strategy:
The creation of a plan The tools to support the plan Execution
Let’s say you have written account management plans for accounts that warrant them and you have the tools to make those plans happen. What’s left? As Nike would say, “Just do it.”
But going out and doing it is where many sales professionals fall short. They’re too busy doing other important things: chasing after new business, prospecting, doing internal reports, or going to meetings.
Executing and Account Management Strategy
I tell sales professionals, “You are the CEO of your own territory.” It is your responsibility to hold your own feet to the fire to make sure you’re doing the right things to maintain and grow your accounts.
It’s more than relationship building; although, that’s a large piece of it. Stepping back, you have to diligently work your plan month by month and year by year. You also have to look at the competition as part of your overall plan. You want to find out how often competitors visit » Continue Reading.
Sales account management tools like relationship maps, CRM solutions, and social networking sites are a great way to support your account management strategy. Selecting and using the right tools is an important part of successfully implementing an account management plan in your organization.
The three major components of account management are:
The creation of a plan The tools to support the plan Execution
In my previous post, I addressed developing a sales account management plan; now I’ll focus on sales account management tools.
Sales Account Management Tools Relationship Maps
A major element of account management is focusing on relationships — building them, maintaining them, and growing them.
Are you contacting the right people?
Do you know all the stakeholders in the buying process?
How would you know?
This is where relationship maps become useful tools.
Much like an organizational chart, a relationship map provides a visual reference of the people within the customer organization and who reports to whom. The more detail you add, the more helpful the map. Some people color-code names on their maps, identifying decision makers, influencers, and gatekeepers. Others also identify allies, coaches, detractors, supporters of competitors, and even neutral stakeholders.
The value of a relationship map is that it shows you where you are potentially vulnerable in a customer’s organization. Consider this point of view: “My contacts are mostly at the director level, and maybe I get to see a vice president » Continue Reading.
Preparation Is Key to a Successful Questioning Strategy
Asking good sales questions is a derivative of good preparation. That’s a given in my book. And I’ll give you a personal example that proves the point.
I was working on a sales opportunity with what has become one of Richardson’s largest clients. We were nearing the final presentation and would be going head-to-head against a major competitor in our industry. Our team would be presenting to a dozen people, and so we focused considerable energies on preparation. Before we even entered the room, we wanted to know what those 12 were thinking so that we could be sure to address their expectations in our questioning and presentation strategy.
I contacted each one of the 12 and was able to speak with ten people. In these individual conversations, I thanked them for their time and assured them that it would be time well spent because what is important to Richardson is what is important to them. I told them that I wanted to hear their individual views before meeting en masse so that I could understand their critical objectives for the meeting, what would be important for them to hear, and what they needed to walk away from the meeting knowing in order to make their decision.
When we all sat down together, our team had a good idea about the level of questions that we needed to pose and the insights that » Continue Reading.
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.
Learning by Doing: the Magic Behind the Richardson Experience
Salespeople and managers who go through a Richardson program often comment that it is different from any other training that they have ever experienced. We pride ourselves in being experts in adult learning, in addition to being technical experts in sales process and dialogue. For participants, it is a transformational experience in their careers. Together we roll up our sleeves, work incredibly hard, get broken down (a bit) and put back together, and leave with a very different mindset and skill set than when they entered.
What Makes a Good Sales Training Reinforcement Strategy?
A good sales training reinforcement strategy requires early planning. One of the biggest mistakes I see our clients sometimes make is waiting until after the training is over to think about the actual reinforcement plan. You need to be thinking about your plan well in advance. And ideally, you should split it up into three phases.
Adapted from interview with Dario Priolo, Chief Strategy Officer for Richardson and Michael Rochelle, Chief Strategy Officer for Brandon Hall Group
Part three of our series on applying key practices in learning and development to drive sales performance.
Just like people and snowflakes, no two companies are alike. And by extension, no sales organization is identical. And before you ask, there is no magic bullet formula to set your sales organization on the right path or cure all ills. There are too many variables, both internal and external, to be considered.
So when asking the question, “What drives high-performing sales teams?” you can certainly expect different answers, or at least differing priorities, among a range of responses. However, there are best practices and principles to guide you on your way towards improving your salesforce. Following is a list of our top 10 areas that contribute to driving – and if done poorly, draining – sales performance.