Pipelinersales Inc., is the parent company of Pipeliner CRM, next-generation CRM software that uses unique visual tools to help salespeople interact with and improve their sales pipeline. We have a track record of being a innovative and forward-thinking company with proven product development delivering software products on time and fully functional.
Last week after presenting a keynote program called Gourmet Living, an attendee came up to me afterwards and discussed her challenges as a sales manager. The last three years have been tough, and she was looking for new ideas for 2018 to excite her team and to simply change up the routine.
Since my keynote program had been about creating a Menu for Your Life with many metaphors around cooking, I started thinking about what her sales management recipe should be. For about 30 minutes we discussed a variety of ideas. So, if 2017 left a bad taste in your mouth, use the following ingredients to create a new recipe to make 2018 your best year ever.
Become a Detective: In sales management workshops we always talk about “inspect what you expect”. Once a week; review your sales team’s CRM system to ensure they are using it properly and casually ask each team member about their certain activities within their key accounts. Once they know you are reviewing their account and activity they will be more precise and begin to be more accurate. Next, make two extra sales calls per month with each sales rep. Validate they can sell your firm and they are using the proper sales tools. These actions are not micro-management, they are designed to provide you greater opportunities to coach and grow your team. Inspect what you expect!
Reduce Fatigue: Recognize your sales team might be tired or somewhat challenged based upon the last three years of tight budgets and stress. Fire them up with new products or packaging/pricing, change the game with new times for sales and sales training meetings-even rearrange the sales offices. Once a month, take your sales team on a “field trip” to visit a satisfied customer, let the customer “sell” your team on your products/services. Build Emotion and Belief in your company, products/services and impact on your client’s business.
Find Creative Dust: Read a book on creativity and share it with your team. The truly great salespeople are the most creative and it is true that creativity can be learned! As a sales manager, creative sales strategies will push you over your quota-get your entire team into a creativity fix. The great Sales Managers are the most creative in problem solving and sales strategy.
Become an SOB: That is a Student of the Business. Invest in sales management training, books, DVD’s. Create your own network of other sales managers where you can discuss ideas, learn what is working for others and explore new sales management concepts. Push yourself to become a professional in 2018, consider visiting other offices and view how their sales managers run their sales teams. At our website you will find free videos on “hiring and training salespeople” and other articles I have written on sales management.You might also go back and skim through our blog to look for other ideas. Slammed! Is our 8-week online Sales Management Boot Camp, check it out.
While these are just a few ideas, I would enjoy reading your reactions or other recipes for success. As a team of readers, let’s build up a complete recipe for each of us as we work to make 2018 a feast we will always remember.
From 1915 through 1975 it was the largest grocery store chain in the United States. Today you probably never heard of it. It was called A&P. Only a few A&P stores remain open today. One mistake in particular accelerated their rapid decline: they underestimated the importance of choice. They made a management decision to primarily stock stores with A&P brand products. When deprived of the ability to choose, their consumers went elsewhere.
Salespeople who deliver choice will increase their value for customers. Salespeople are in the business of selling choice. This is because customers rely on salespeople to expand their range of choices. Some products are sold simply on the basis of providing choice. For example, people will pay more for airline tickets that can be rescheduled without penalty. Products offering limited choices are less attractive. For example, iPods at one time were a huge seller. However, you won’t find them being sold anymore. iPhones came into the market and offered more choices, so iPods became undesirable. The same principle applies for salespeople. Customers don’t like salespeople who limit their choices. When buying insurance, would you prefer to speak with a salesperson who represents one company, or talk to a broker who represents many?
A very effective traditional sales technique is called the “choice close.” It involves rephrasing a request to buy into a choice. For example, an insurance salesperson may try to close a deal with a client by saying, “Do you want to get the $100,000 policy today?” When using a choice close the salesperson would rephrase that same request into a choice. The salesperson could say, “Do you want to pay for the $100,000 policy with your personal account or with your business account?” The fact that simply rephrasing a request into a choice is so effective, speaks to the importance of choice for buying.
The reason why choice is such a powerful tool for salespeople is because choice is what makes us uniquely human. Choice and free will are gifts that the human race has been uniquely endowed with. This is why customers will ask salespeople questions without requiring a salesperson’s prompting. These customers are engaging in the natural decision-making process. Salespeople may find it annoying when customers think they need more information than the salesperson provided. Salespeople shouldn’t take this personally. When customers raise objections and want to do more research—they’re not trying to give salespeople a hard time. It’s so they can feel good about the decisions they’re making.
Salespeople add value by providing choice because it improves the quality of their customer’s decisions. For example, a parent could bribe a teenager with money in order to to get him to attend church, but this cultivates a lower quality decision than if the teenager’s motivation to attend church was due to his own personal beliefs. It’s a lower quality decision because the teenager will stop attending church as soon as the parent stops paying him to go. Offering a bribe involves external motivation. Following one’s beliefs involves internal motivation.
Salespeople must appreciate the difference between internal motivation and external motivation in order to fully utilize the power of “choice.” This is because a customer’s decision process itself is internal. Customers don’t buy so they can make their salespeople happy. Customers buy because they think having the product will make them happy. This is a good thing. In the long run, internally motivated buying decisions are higher quality decisions.
Higher quality decisions are more sustainable. We can refer back to the previous example of the teenager who discontinues going to church when Mom stops paying him to go. Salespeople must rely on customers to act on their own volition after the salesperson is gone. Once the salesperson leaves, customer still have to decide on their own when to use the product. Customers need to place re-orders on their own. Customers are on their own when they recommend the product to others. Internally motivated decisions secure a higher degree of conviction from customers. Salespeople who make the effort to cultivate higher quality buying decisions create more motivated customers, because it creates customers who own their choices.
Salespeople can help elevate decision making quality by providing choice. Choice shifts the customer’s motivation from external to internal. When salespeople offer customers a choice, it gets customers to introspect. Customers check in with themselves in order to decide which option they really want. Since buying is an internal process, the ability to focus a customer’s attention inward is an important skill for salespeople to master. The more internal a decision is, the higher quality that decision will be. Highly internalized decisions seamlessly integrate into a customer’s personal beliefs and values. A powerful example of this happening is when one customer was so impressed with his Remington razor that he bought the entire company!
Salespeople may sometimes run up against customer pushback when attempting to provide choice. This is, in fact, an interference which originates within customers themselves. Since decision-making is internal, the most disruptive source of interference is also internal. It’s the customer’s self-limiting beliefs. One of the most valuable things salespeople can provide are insights that eliminate their customer’s self-limiting beliefs. It expands a customer’s thinking and broadens the range of options customers can choose from. For example, a textile salesperson may present a line of extra heavy fabrics to a clothing manufacturer. The clothing manufacturer may express a self limiting belief such as, “That looks like a great fabric for the price, but I can’t expand into the heavy overcoat category. I don’t have the marketing savvy to compete.” The salesperson could dispel that self-limiting belief by sharing an insight. He could say, “You say that every time I present a fabric in a new category. Once you get started you always discover the competition can’t match your marketing ability. You end up dominating the category within a year. Think of how small your business would be today if we actually paid attention to those initial doubts of yours.”
The customer’s self-limiting beliefs offer a golden opportunity for salespeople to create value. The value of sharing insights to expand a customer’s thinking cannot be overstated. There’s no greater contributor to one’s quality of life than the quality of the decisions we make. Our careers, our education, the friends we have, where we live, have all resulted from the quality of our decisions. We fondly recall the people in our lives who influenced our decision-making by introducing new choices. By creating choice salespeople dispel self-limiting beliefs and elevate the quality of decision-making itself. Through the power of choice salespeople provide customers with one of the most valuable gifts anyone could offer, an expanded sense of possibility.
How important is sales prospecting? Well, without it you’re not going to have any sales in the pipeline.
In today’s digital world, a lot of prospecting is conducted through social media and inbound methods. Many of the old rules are still in force, though, even if applied in new ways. Three sales experts provide practical advice and insights on how to focus your prospecting efforts in this panel discussion featuring Barbara Giamanco, Kurt Shaver & Donald Kelly – hosted by John Golden.
Sales. It’s right at the center of a company’s revenue strategy. Without sales, revenue doesn’t happen at all. With the right sales team and the right strategy–and of course the right product or service–it’s a rocket ride right out through the top.
But what comes before all that? You guessed it: sales training. Join us in this ebook as some of the world’s top sales experts weigh in on this incredibly important topic.
What is Great Sales Training?
Chapter 1: Building a Selling Organization–Not Just a Sales Department
by Shawn Karol Sandy
Why not build a whole selling organization based on a collective culture that coaches, encourages and rewards behaviors that contribute to the financial goals of the organization?
Chapter 2: One Size Does Not Fit All
by Elinor Stutz
One reason sales training results are often dismal is that most trainers act as if they are school teachers. The student variances are never taken into account.
Chapter 3: Align Sales Training to Company Strategy
by Roy Osing
Sales training is a strategic issue; it should always be driven by what the organization’s strategy demands.
Chapter 4: Transform Terrible Training: Excite, Customize, and Build a Long-Term Roadmap
by Lisa Magnuson
Spending that hard-won currency on over-simplified, tedious, or uninspired training sessions will push your revenue-generating energies toward the red zone.
Chapter 5: 8 Signs My Rep Onboarding Program Is Broken
by Lauren Bailey
Are you an unwitting accomplice to rep abuse? Let’s find out. Here are some top signs that your new hire training might be broken.
Chapter 6: Great Sales Training Must Reflect Buyer Behavior
by John D. Elsey
Candidly, we see this with our own customers. They’re frankly more skeptical. We need to be more effective at articulating the value of our products and services, and the type of return on investment they may get.
Effective Sales Training Content
Chapter 7: The All Important Conversation–Not Just With the Customer
by Bruce Wedderburn
The vast majority of the sales training that’s out there now is focused around the conversation between the salesperson and the customer. But we have found that that’s only one of three separate conversations that are critically important to success.
Chapter 8: The Value of Sales Role Play—5 Directing Tips
by Julie Hansen
Adopting a few directing tips may not make your reps learn to love role-play, but they will learn how to perform more effectively when they step onto the business stage.
Chapter 9: Learning to Ask the Right Questions
by Jermaine Edwards
Start with the end in mind and write down questions that meet the goal you have, the feeling you want your prospect to have, and the reasonable incremental action they could take.
Chapter 10: Help Salespeople Learn from the Best Teacher of All—the Customer
by Jeffrey Lipsius
The source of a salesperson’s learning should be customer-derived rather than trainer-derived. Higher performing salespeople observe their customers more keenly.
Chapter 11: How Does Sales Training Turn One into a Sales Virtuoso?
by Nikolaus Kimla
The problem is that most salespeople are given product knowledge and some theory, then perhaps some coaching, but it often stops after the rep has had some sales success. They never get the chance to practice their craft and consistently improve their performance, as an artist does.
Chapter 12: Sales Training Means Learning and Development
by Jane Gentry
50 percent of sales managers think that if you got rid of training altogether, it wouldn’t impact the performance of their sellers. They might be right, because we have not learned yet that by and large it’s development that changes behavior.
Continuous Sales Training—Sales Coaching
Chapter 13: Sales Coaching Excellence Revisited
by Matthew McDarby
Effective sales coaching is perhaps the key differentiator that separates great sales organizations from average ones.
Chapter 14: How to Become a Great Sales Coach
by Kevin F. Davis
To improve the amount of time you spend coaching, you need to take back control of your time. To improve the quality of sales coaching, you need to refocus yourself where your involvement can have the greatest impact over the long term with your salespeople.
Chapter 15: Sales Coaching = Success Coaching
by Monika D’Agostino
Recent studies have shown that it is essential to train sales managers to ensure top performance of a sales team. When sales managers don’t embrace disciplines, how would they be able to coach and guide their teams?
On what she loves about SalesPOP! and sales, the importance of asking the right questions, on reaching executives early in the sales cycle, seeing through the customer’s eyes, and the most important sales challenge of 2018.
Janice Mars is a top contributor on SalesPOP! and truly enjoys it. “Your audience is very similar to mine – sales executives, sales managers and salespeople who strive to improve their craft to be the best they can be,” she says. “Additionally, I am honored to be part of this exclusive group of sales thought leaders who are all at the top of their game.”
As would be expected, sales is front and center in Janice’s career—and there are many things she loves about it. “I’m fascinated by how much sales has changed since I started my career,” she explains. “Technology has been the main driver of these changes—not just in making sales more efficient, but in fundamentally shifting the buying cycle forever. As a sales leader and now as a sales consultant, I also enjoy giving back. Helping sales teams work towards predictable growth by replicating their sales successes is extremely rewarding. At the end of the day, it’s all about sales helping their customers achieve their goals on a timely basis. And, similarly to when I was in management, I learn new things from sales teams every day!”
Asking the Right Questions
A major focus of Janice’s consulting is getting salespeople to ask the right questions in chasing down the deal. “Salespeople need to look at the bigger picture,” she says. “Each contact, each meeting, each phone call is part of a bigger picture, and the planning of such starts and ends with questions.
“Few plan thoroughly enough for meetings and calls. They must train themselves to think about the outcome they want from that meeting or call, what they know or don’t know about the client at any particular point in time, and what questions they should ask and to whom. Asking the right questions can tell you so much. The answers you get could tell you, for example, that you are speaking to people too low in the organizational hierarchy. Or, that the decision maker does not have a budget or a timeline, and/or that they are just using the salesperson as pure column fodder.
“Also, too many salespeople don’t press for specific types of information. If you get only a generic response to a question you asked, don’t take it at face value and move on. Press for more specificity. After all, you can only get so much time on the calendar with a busy executive these days, so you better make it count.”
Reaching the Executives
Janice consults her clients to reach for the executive level in a prospect company. “A quality pipeline should be linked to a prospect company’s priorities – where they are spending their time, money and resources,” she elaborates. “If you don’t talk to these executives or those on their executive team, you could risk spending a lot of time with others who are kicking tires or just plain doing research.
“For those massive customer organizations where the salespeople cannot get to that high executive level, when they’re talking to executives in a specific line of business, they should at least understand the linkage between the line of business goals and the high level executive goals. Most executives that have a need will take your meeting if they see you as relevant, able to speak in their channel, and/or see an opportunity to learn from you. This is typically where things go wrong. You may think your meeting was a ‘success’ but the executive pushed you down the line to someone who spoke more like you. Another opportunity lost.”
Seeing Through the Customer’s Eyes
Seeing through the customer’s eyes, according to Janice, is a topic of prime importance. “This is paramount to sales success and, in the end, to predictable growth,” she says. “Too many times, I see salespeople pushing boulders uphill, selling for their own reasons and not the buyer’s reasons. Management asks sales reps to sell products and services in their time frame, with little regard for the buyer’s time frame.
“I cannot tell you how many times I have reviewed pipelines only to find that all the close dates are their fiscal quarter end dates, and have nothing to do with the customers! Stop forecasting based on what sales tells you, and start forecasting based on what your customers tell you. Spend time understanding their business priorities, timelines and why they are important to them. More often than not, their timelines will not align with your close dates.
“But, have no fear about that. Just work diligently to get more in your pipeline ensuring you can make your quota based on your knowledge of the customer’s time frames and priorities. The more you know about your customer, the more you can truly help them to be successful. When they have a business problem that you can solve, they will engage. But, the truth is, they don’t care so much about the features and functions, yet sales people keep going down that road. Why? Because it’s easier. You must understand customer priorities and how they’ll be impacted if they do not achieve their goals. Then you can help them get to their business outcome with a minimal amount of risk, on time and on budget. Your success is their success.”
Most Important Sales Challenge This Year
Finally, Janice expresses what she sees as the most important sales challenge for the new year. “I cannot believe I am going to say this because it seems so obvious,” she says. “The most important sales challenge this year is making quota consistently, based on the knowledge of your territory. It doesn’t matter whether you manage one account or an entire territory. It’s typical for sales managers to ask their team to put together an account or territory plan.
“But guess what? It usually ends up in the trash. That’s because it’s not supposed to be a one-time, annual activity. It’s supposed to evolve, always be customer-focused, and be your navigation tool showing you where to spend your time. The key to making quota consistently is using this plan to help you fill the pipeline for years to come, not just for reaching this year’s sales quota.”
If there’s any factor that keeps someone out of selling, it would be rejection—and a person simply gives up before they start. It can be even worse if someone has been selling for some time, but the constant rejection finally gets to them and they give up. Giving up can also happen right in the middle of a sales cycle. But giving up is seldom the answer. Join us as we find a better way!
Live on 5th April 2018 9am PST
In Sales there are a lot of road blocks and things that can unmotivate you to keep selling. How can you combat this and instead muster up the courage to continue?
What can people do if the sale doesn’t go as predicted? Is there any suggested Plan B?
What are the most important keys to stay focused in order to achieve everything you want?
Elinor Stutz broke through barriers long before doing so was popular. First, she proved women can sell. Her blog Smooth Sale was created to teach how to earn a returning and referring clientele. Elinor is an international best-selling author, a Top 1% Influencer, and sales guru and inspirational speaker.
John is the Amazon Best Selling Author of “Winning the Battle for Sales: Lessons on Closing Every Deal from the World’s Greatest Military Victories.” He recently published his second book “Social Upheaval: How to Win at Social Selling.” A globally acknowledged thought leader, John has a passion for small to medium businesses. He is CSO at Pipeliner CRM.
Martha is social media strategist, responsible for all social media platforms of Pipeliner CRM. She is a communication expert with social media affinity, which she has been focusing on throughout her professional career. She has a bachelor´s degree in Entrepreneurship & Management and a master´s degree in Online Marketing which supports her in her career as Social Media Strategist.
SalesChats is a fast-paced (no more than 30 minutes) multi-media series that provides leading strategies, tactics and thinking for sales professionals worldwide. It can be found on Twitter (#SalesChats), as a live Google+ Hangout, and as a podcast available on iTunes, SoundCloud and right here on SalesPOP! If you think you would make a great guest for #SalesChats, please contact co-host Martha Neumeister.
SalesChats is co-hosted by John Golden, CSO Pipeliner CRM, and Martha Neumeister, Social Media Strategist Pipeliner CRM.
You’ve heard of I.Q. You might also have heard about E.Q.—Emotional Quotient—which is emotional intelligence, something all salespeople need today. This means being able to handle yourself properly when conflict arises and being able to read people’s emotions and body language;
A third addition is V.Q., which is Value Judgment Intelligence Quotient. It equates out to your ability to make decisions based on the value you perceive for yourself or for someone else.
Spencer Marona conducts an assessment on individuals for the scoring of Value Quotient, and it is split into two parts: the person’s view of themselves, and their view of the world. It includes as factors, in part:
Nurturing others, which is the most important value you can have. It’s about appreciating the quality of someone’s life, and it’s an intrinsic view of the world. When the score is at 100 percent, you have an incredible way of putting yourself in someone’s shoes, being empathetic and seeing things from their perspective.
Appreciating the quality of things. In life in general, this factor would indicate the level of appreciation of going to a museum, for example, or enjoying a play. In business, it would indicate appreciation of a team member’s work.
Following rules and policies, which can be an interesting balancing act. Creating people, for example, would not overvalue this point as they want to see how much the rules can be bent to make things happen.
Hosted by John Golden.
Spencer Marona is the founder and owner of Performance North. Through an objective, scientific, and measurable tool that shows how one’s thinking directly impacts their performance, he coaches and empowers leaders and sales professionals to learn how to utilize their best thinking to become elite.
John Golden is the Amazon bestselling author of Winning the Battle for Sales: Lessons on Closing Every Deal from the World’s Greatest Military Victories. He recently published his second book Social Upheaval: How to Win at Social Selling. A globally acknowledged thought leader, John has a passion for small to medium businesses. He is CSO and CMO at Pipeliner CRM.
A simple blueprint for handoffs defines roles/responsibilities and strengthens sales hiring partnerships
In hiring front-line sellers, organizations may flounder and fail when sales
hiring practices are left up to a single department. Sales managers frequently take short cuts. Recruiters and HR business partners often miss the mark because it’s challenging for them to assess selling skills. When selection responsibilities reside with one or the other department, costly mistakes are made.
The best solution is a shared selection process. Working together expedites the process, deploys experts appropriately and yields higher caliber hires.
Without a shared selection process…
For a sales manager, it may seem like selecting sales reps on your own would be easier than using an elaborate system. But a shared selection process helps you to avoid problems like these:
Inability to come to terms with your top candidate because compensation expectations were not discussed upfront.
New hire is struggling. Questions and doubts surface regarding actual level of experience.
Top candidate accepts another job. Too much time elapsed between interview and offer.
Time constraints cause you to rush and settle for “good enough.”
Candidates apply but have an unfavorable impression of the job or company afterwards.
Your team is not diverse in thought, approach or ideas.
Reps have solid sales experience but aren’t performing at peak levels.
For a recruiter or HR business partner, it may seem like interviewing and selecting sales reps on your own would be faster than trying to work around a sales manager’s schedule. But a shared selection process is worth the extra effort because:
Sales managers will do a better job of assessing responses to behavioral interview questions related to selling skills and situations. Their experience gives them insight you don’t have.
Candidates are eager to explore fit and comfort level with the person they’ll report to.
Two heads are better than one. Getting diverse points of view improves selection.
You can’t fully answer questions about job role, account list, resources, expectations, goal setting, commission structure and so on.
Better selection processes reduce the actual costs and the lost opportunity costs caused by vacant sales territories and revolving-door sales staffing.
This sample of a shared selection process shows how one organization divided the work. Light shading shows the work completed by HR specialists. The sales manager, working with HR, coordinates and leads items with dark shading.
The human resources department begins and ends the selection and hiring process. This helps to ensure consistency and fairness. It also helps to ensure that the company remains compliant with legal guidelines. With this process, the HR department can also maintain documentation and records.
For sales managers, a shared selection process minimizes administrative work and pre-qualifies candidates. Hiring managers lead steps 2-6.
Getting started with a shared process does require some time and effort at the onset. But making this investment of time upfront will save you and your company a great deal of money and time in the long run.
First, everyone involved in the shared selection process must have a common understanding and agreement about what the job entails and what indicates a strong candidate. Rather than relying on gut feel, expecting experience alone to indicate ability or “winging it” when it comes to selection, Sales Managers and Recruiters/HR Partners can work together to build a much stronger and more reliable foundation.
A good starting place is a Sales Competency Model. This will give you clarity right from the start about your ideal candidate. The rest of the steps in this partnership will line up nicely when you start with competencies. There are numerous resources, backed by research, for sales competencies. Check out the ATD model or the one from Objective Management Group.
At the onset, work to create a strong partnership between human resources and sales. By implementing a shared selection process, you’ll soon understand what your partner department needs in order to make the selection process successful and smart for the company. Over time, you’ll begin to anticipate and meet each other’s needs more often and more quickly.
Next, work toward universal adoption of this process in your sales department. To be valid and effective, it must be used for all candidates in like jobs. Sales managers and recruiters/HR partners must be able to rely on each other to understand and use competency, behavior and trait-based questions for assessment. Role plays, if you use them, should be executed the same way each time. Without consistency, the objectivity and benefits of the selection process will be diluted.
Now you’re ready to create your process, get training to fill in knowledge gaps, and launch your new shared selection process. Soon, you’ll be streamlined, systematic and proficient in your shared selection process.
Now what will you do with all the time you used to waste on unproductive hiring practices?
In technology sales, salespeople are often trained to focus on their product’s or service’s “bells and whistles” (features). This is done in an effort to convince potential buyers that their offering beats their competitor’s. The focus is put onto the technical (often slight) differences and advantages of their technology, instead of its value. Because the differences are marginal, the conversation often descends into pricing. Technologies, especially today, are extremely similar, and their value (or differences) may not be obvious to the prospect.
The lesson of this insight is this: It’s not about technology, but about the value your particular technology solution provides to your potential client’s business.
How do we put the spotlight on that value? By posing the right questions at the right time, carefully listening to the answers, and then positioning your solution as relevant to your prospect’s business issues and goals.
In this day and age of educated buyers, simply rattling off your pitch won’t get you far. In every prospect interaction, your goal must be to discover the unique value of your offering to that particular individual and enterprise. You then provide the right solution.
2. Target the Right Person
Take a good look at the person with whom you’re engaging. It often happens that technology salespeople lead with technology, even when they’re speaking to a non-tech-savvy decision maker. This can cause overwhelm or confusion on the part of the prospect.
The details of technology only mean something to the tech buyer—the person who can comprehend technological nuances and differences. That person, however, is rarely the individual who writes the company’s checks. People in financial roles are, however, interested in what technology can do for the company—when expressed in terms of time or money saved.
3. Prospect From the Top
It is very tempting for technology sales people to target technical buyers, but it’s not always the right approach. If you, as a sales person can identify how your prospect company could benefit from your solution, you might be better off targeting higher level executives, such as the CEO, the CTO, or COO. If your technology can help companies make or save money, then (and you can bet your money on this) you will get the attention from senior management. It’s all about doing your research and crafting the right message. It’s also a lot easier to work your way down within an organization, than to climb up the organizational ladder.
4. Don’t Get Trapped in the Middle (Mid-Level Management)
Mid-management is often protective of their turf and they very rarely have final decision-making power. So, if you engage with them (even if they are responsive), you will have to rely on them to communicate the value of your solution to their management, the people who will give final approval. Why would you want to risk that? If you, however, get buy-in from top management first, and they then involve the technical experts or management, you can be assured that your sales cycle will be shorter.
5. Always Lead with the Value
Again, it’s not about the technology, but what the technology can do for that organization. That proposition might be different for every single company, so you will need to do your research. In the end it will pay off. If you offer a technology that can help companies stay connected to the internet without interruptions (like one of our clients), focus on the value that solution brings to this client. Losing an internet connection these days can have devastating effects on companies, but the consequences might differ depending on the industry. In the public sector, it might mean that ambulances don’t get to an accident scene on time. In a retail environment the effects might be less drastic, but very costly. If your client’s employees can’t open hundreds or more of their cash registers due to a lost connection, it can result in lost revenue.
6. How to Make Higher Pricing Not an Issue
Here is the lesson to learn for salespeople who sell technology enabled solutions. A higher price might not be an issue, as long as the solution that you are offering is relevant to the individual who is buying it and they feel it’s worth it. Personally, I don’t mind paying more if I actually get more, but that’s up to the sales person to help me understand. Good salespeople help clients understand the value of their solutions, and why the cheaper solution might have downfalls.