August 18th, 2014
Sales Leadership: Don’t over complicate it…
Last week I almost lost it. While I was observing a sales meeting at a client’s site, (they were following our template/agenda for the meeting) when the president who is active in this meeting brought up a topic that took them down the rat hole.
My job was to keep them on topic but in this case I took over; they were discussing an important new program that is a Critical Sales Factor for this year- and the program was not working. As I began to peel back the layers of the issue as to why clients were not adopting the program it became evident. The client had been focused on creating a complex software application that included multiple pages of screens/sub categories, checklists and mutual responsibilities that they expected their clients to use during this new innovative program.
When I said: you don’t show this to them during the sales process do you? When the answer was YES! I cringed… their attention to detail and process management was terrific, the application was designed to ensure a quality solution, but to a non-technology prospective client of theirs, it would scare them to death-way to complex. I can imagine the prospects eyes glazing over and brains retreating to all the work they had to do without this new initiative. It was way too complex to show in a sales situation.
I was told many years ago, selling is creating Emotion, transferring Emotion, causing Emotion. In this case my client was selling process not the benefits of what the actual program would deliver or a compelling reason to take action. They got so caught up in their approach that they forgot it’s about the prospective client’s issues and “How are we going to sell it?” We rebuilt the sales presentation with a 4 screen shots and a few PowerPoint slides.
As we sorted out this issue, a second topic came out; they were holding client meetings to explain their new program, but they were not converting those meetings to the actual next step where they had to schedule a meeting between their team and the client. Beside the issue I described above, in reviewing the details of issue number two, it became evident that my client’s internal teams did not consider these kinds of meetings as a priority. The result? Scheduling multiple people from my client’s office and the customers became a challenge to arrange. Solution: we printed off a monthly calendar, blocked off 2 days a week for each week for the appropriate internal team and trained the sales team to schedule one meeting in the morning, and one in the afternoon for each of those 2 days. During the sales call the prospective client was simply booked into what dates were available that worked for them! Everyone could plan more effectively and the prospective client’s closing was on what morning or afternoon works for you? (Alternative close 101)
As a sales leader we get caught up in implementation and execution of a variety of programs-all good things, but what we must constantly be aware of is methodology that appears to be sales prevention.
Keeping things less complicated makes it easier for a prospective client to understand your approach and their benefits and easier for your sales team to present.
HINT: if you would like a copy of Acumen’s “Sales Meeting Agenda”, send me an email.
Acumen Management Group Ltd. “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 15 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for partners throughout North America. Ken’s latest book: Slammed! for the first time sales manager was released in July.
Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance. Ken@AcumenMgmt.com www.AcumenManagement.com