“Nothing happens in an organisation until someone sells something.”
It’s true, right?
So, why do so many organisations struggle to get their Sales Strategy right?
Why do so many Sales Leaders struggle with the right framework to develop their Sales Process and Salespeople?
They’re OK Supervisors. But, when it comes to Training, Coaching and Mentoring something’s missing.
It’s certainly not down to a lack of selling skills on the part of the Leaders. Most have travelled the path from Salesperson to Sales Manager to Sales Leader.
They were ‘Aces’ in their day. Perhaps they still are.
There is no lack of Selling skills. Perhaps, the skills they developed in Selling aren’t seen as transferable to the world of Sales Leadership.
Throughout my career I’ve met many Leaders who have struggled to cross the chasm from successful Salesperson to successful Sales Leader. Perhaps, it’s that there is not the same emotional thrill in completing a great coaching call as there was when winning a new deal.
In my career the most memorable moments were when I orchestrated my teams to perform together in a synchronous symphony of sales simplicity (try saying that after eating a Jacob’s Cracker).
The foundation of those successes was an obsessive focus on contextual Coaching. Opportunity and Deal Coaching. Deal Triage. Deal Dress Rehearsals.
Here are 6 steps to help you, the Sales Leader, transfer your selling skills into deal coaching skills.
1) Who are we selling to?
Firstly, we should look at the opportunity type.
Are we hunting for New Clients?
Or are we developing fresh opportunity in Existing Clients?
‘Hunting’ and ‘Farming’ are vastly different strategies when you are positioning and propositioning products and services.
Have you taken the time to create a clear vision of your Ideal Prospect? Not every Company should qualify to be your teams ‘Prospect’.
How about your Ideal Client? Not all clients present the same development opportunity.
Decide on those ‘Prospects’ that represent the best probability of growth possibility for your people and ensure they maintain an obsessive focus on only that.
2) What type of Sale Process is it?
Secondly, we should review our Sales Process.
Do you know whether your Sales Process more Demand Creation or Demand Fulfilment? Is it a Short Cycle (less than 3 months) or Long Cycle (more than 3 months)?
Are we Consultative Selling? Creating demand for solutions with a long, continuous, sales cycle. Probably selling to Larger, more complex, Enterprises.
Unique Value Selling? Creating demand for solutions but with a shorter, less complex, sales cycle. Perhaps selling to mid-market (or smaller), less complex, Enterprises.
Is it Account Selling? The demand is within the account, continuous relationship development is required to maintain the client’s loyalty.
Is it Commodity Selling? Fulfilling demand with a sell in the moment approach. Perhaps selling to individuals (B2B2C).
Decide, design, and document your ‘Sales Process’ as it aligns to your ‘Prospects Buying Behaviour’ for your People. Ensure they maintain an obsessive focus on running that process with only minor adaptations.
3) Who are we up against?
As we begin our Sales Process do we know what the ‘competitive’ factors are in our target ‘Prospect’?
When we proposition our products or services are we typically trying to replace an incumbent supplier?
Is the Prospect or Client looking at more than one solution in parallel? Perhaps they want to separate out solutions across multiple suppliers?
Do we know what (or if) we have as a competitive, strategic, advantage over the oppositions proposition?
Is there any internal ‘politics’ that are going to make our provocation and proposition in this ‘Account’ a challenge?
Develop strong Value Propositions with your People to give them the competitive advantage. Ensure they are fluent in those Value Propositions and that every ‘Prospect’ knows what makes you special.
4) What’s the problem?
It is a Sales Leaders responsibility to define the reality for their Salespeople.
We need to ensure that we, and our people, intimately understand the challenges our ‘Prospects’ and Clients are facing.
Do we understand the PAIN our ‘Prospects’ are facing?
Do we know the reasons why those PAINs our being faced?
Do we know the impact those PAINs are having on our ‘Prospects’ organisation?
Have we helped the ‘Prospect’ calculate the cost burden to their organisation of these unaddressed PAINs? Resource cost? Time burden? Financial impact? Lost opportunity?
How about the impact it is having on them, personally?
Develop strong Qualification criteria with your People to give them and their ‘Prospect’ clarity of a good fit for your business.
Ensure those Qualifiers are consistently applied, across every deal and that every ‘Prospect’ knows what makes them a good fit for your solutions.
5) Is it a priority?
It is a Sales Leaders responsibility to help their people navigate the complexities of business.
Have we established that these PAINs are significant enough for somebody in the organisation to decide to do something about them?
Their contact may be head over heels in love with the proposition they’ve made.
But, who else in the organisation knows that there is PAIN that needs to be solved?
Who is else on the organisation is holding the ‘purse strings’ and will invest in solving the PAIN?
Who are decisions going to be made to resolve this PAIN?
Develop with your People clarity of the Organisational Structure of their ‘Prospect’ and work together to navigate the complex corridors to get to the True Buyers.
6) What now?
Leaders need to hold their teams to a higher standard and require clear, actionable next steps to be put in place at the end of every meeting, to ensure the cycle doesn’t stall.
More Sales Cycles fail, or get delayed, because your team haven’t established clear, well understand, next actions than any other excuse (sorry reason).
Future meeting dates, times, attendee’s, and agenda for the meeting.
If you want to ensure that your teams’ sales cycles aren’t stalling, then keep them accountable to creating Firm Future Commitments.
Try implementing these 6 steps in your next deal coaching meeting with a member of your team. See the difference it can make in you and them.
If you ever feel like chatting yourself then you could always book a complimentary coaching call here: https://calendly.com/davidwdavies