When engaging in an opportunity, we often rely on our product/solution to win the day. We believe if we can show them how cool, how powerful, or how revolutionary the product is, it will magically answer all their questions and lead them to buy. In early stage markets, when you have little to no competition and the early adopters can easily see the utility in your product – you can win a fair share of business this way. However, once the clarity is muddied up with more competitors, later stage buyers, and smaller territories – your sales skills will win the day. Average sales professionals fall behind and the cream always rises to the top. Sales professionals who have a consistent sales approach that covers the buyer’s journey in making a buying decision are proven to be more successful.
As organizations try to cross over the chasm, this becomes a key to continued sales growth. To grow, you need that consistency in approach across geographies. Gong.IO research showed us that the best sales teams have one thing in common: a consistent approach to their sales engagement. To be clear, not a scripted, robotics approach but one where buyers/customers feel consistency whether it is East coast or West, EMEA or APAC. The company’s engagement DNA is consistent.
How can you evolve your organizational sales DNA into a consistent selling motion that deliveries the growth and scale needed to achieve your goals? It all starts in changing behaviors. The behaviors of our sales representatives, managers, executives, and across functional groups such as marketing, customer success, professional services, and renewals. Sounds like a huge undertaking! Changing behaviors that have been engrained in professionals for years is not easy. However, there are some things that can make the evolution possible.
Have a clear destination for the journey
Where are we all taking the company in the next 3-5 years? Do we believe in the mission? Do we understand that what got us to this point, will not get us to the next? Don’t be a victim of your own success. Take the team, the organization to the next level. Help them uncover why they would even want to change, from a business and personal prospective.
Invest in your people’s skills
Your team members need not only to understand the goal, but also their role in achieving the goal. Provide them the skills, tools, and training to make the behavioral change. From front line customer facing professionals to managers and executives. Too often in our careers we are put in new roles with new responsibilities but left to figure out the how. If you want to attract and maintain top talent, invest in them.
Understand the customer first
Last, but not least, it’s important to understand the customer first so that you don’t fall into the trap of leading with product. To put the customer first, it requires that we ask more questions and show curiosity about their business and people. Recently I had a rep tell me that he had been in this business so long that he knew what the customer was going say before they did. I reminded him that no buyer likes to be told what they are thinking or what they should do. Even if you know all the answers, you still need to ask the questions. Selling is a process of discovery through questions. Those questions help the buyer self-discover and come to their own conclusions. Sounds like that will take much longer but the honest truth is that it actually shortens the sales cycle. If you can challenge a buyer’s way of thinking and guide them to the right solution, that builds their confidence and trust in you, your company and your products. Once established it allows the sales cycle to go faster vs. them constantly looking for the gaps in your pitch.
Anyone can show a product. Instead, take a transparent, authentic approach to help your buyers make buying decisions. Once you have that knowledge, drive it throughout the sales cycle. Help the buyer create an internal business case to move forward. The rest of your own organization would love to know why they bought, what differentiated us vs. the competition, how did they justify the purchase, who was involved, and what were the steps to evaluate, decide, purchase and implement to achieve their time line.
Take a close look at your own organization. How do you take them to the next level? What small changes could you implement this year or next? Remember, you are either getting better or worse – the market around us will not let us just rest on our successes from the past.
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