Tags: sales process, Sales Strategies
I come across both teams and vendors in what I do; and, as a sales and marketing guy, I have a few opinions on selling. But the more I think about ideas surrounding selling, the more it informs my ideas about buying.
First off – a few words about Vendors…
Vendors often don’t seem to follow a set sales process in the sports industry, and in the tech space surrounding social media and mobile, pricing often borders on ridiculous. Vendors often look at teams as organizations with huge budgets – and they do – for players. Business operations is a different story… there are budgets and they are often tight. The lack of foresight among vendors regarding a team’s’ financial capabilities often simply frustrates the buyer and can chill an opportunity or be lost to a competitor real quick. Teams see through these prices and will forge for lower until they get it. The days of “shiny newness” regarding social and mobile are gone – the “must have” factor is always trumped by ROI eventually. Many of these buys are strategic, and when vendors employ a transactional process (in light of any process at all), price will always be the determining factor.
Some thoughts about Teams…
Many teams will look to leverage themselves as a point of entry to a vendor. The thinking goes a lot like, “If you give this to us for free, then everyone will come asking where we got this. We’re really helping you create business here…”. This makes sense internally; and to be honest, referrals drive the way almost anything happens in the sports business. But this kind of position just doesn’t hold water. Imagine if I went to my local grocery store with, “I’d like you to give me this food for free – I’m an amazing cook and everyone who eats my food will be asking where I got this from. I’m really bringing you a lot of business here…”. [Insert sound effect here] “Umm – Clean up in aisle 4″
Teams believe that a number of vendors will bend over completely backwards for the chance to work with them – but unless it makes business sense, they simply won’t/can’t.
Obviously, there are a number of other facets and factors involved in these complex sales – too much to tackle in a single blog post.
At the end of the day, this back and forth is frustrating and time-consuming for all involved. Vendors need to better understand how teams buy anything – how their budgets are structured, how does the product/service fit an overall strategy, how can they make the buying process easier? Teams need to consider how the vendor’s product/service meets their requirements, strategy and their ROI. If discussions start from a place such as this, both parties are off on the right foot…
What are your thoughts?
Tags: Closing, Sales, sales process, Sales Tips
Sales is a numbers game – how many times have you heard that?
Managing sales by numbers is part of it, but these metrics are more applicable to early sales process functions like business development activities.
X number of calls – Y number of appointments – Z number of meetings
It makes a lot of sense to track these ratios as they will indicate strengths, gaps and required efforts to keep a sales funnel on track. Later sales process management by numbers is focused on average sale value, closing ratio and funnel management.
Here is where I am going with this… Sellers have a direct impact on their numbers early in the sales process, and their ability to control and affect the sale decreases as it moves along… Sellers have direct control over their own production, but buyers have control over the dollars (by and large). Too many sellers try to take back that control far too late in the process – at the close.
The Math Analogy
Closing is simply like the “=” in sales. It is a function – a result. Mathematics does not happen at the point of “=”, it is a process that results in a value and the same goes for sales. In order to achieve the correct value in math, the process needs to be completed by following the rules and doing them in the right order. The calculations are similar to qualifying in sales – I have said many times that in order to be a better closer, you need to be a better qualifier – either way – if you rush through the calculations or the qualifications, you will get a result, but likely not the correct one. Sellers who focus too much attention on the “=” are missing the point of sales as it has already happened; the “work” of sales is complete, closing is simply the result of a competent sales process.
This math process analogy can help sellers envision what closing is all about. Math is like sales in a vacuum – a repeatable process. In the real world, sellers are using psychology, presentation skills and benefiting from good timing.
Tags: Sales Cycles, sales process, Sales Tips, Value Drivers
How do you know when a deal will close?
It’s what the sales funnel is all about. But forecasting when sales will close is something that most sellers are fairly bad at.
There’s only one way to know when any sale will close – Prove it.
So how to you prove it? By coming back to the Value Drivers behind the opportunity. Value Drivers are the core of any solution building process. Locating the business case for the solution, determining the impact of the prospect having solved/addressed their problem/goal… Value Drivers are the business reasons anything happens in a sale.
If you know what the Value Drivers are, then you will also have the reasoning and clarity behind timing and implementation. If you are unable to determine the Value Drivers, you are relying on the loneliest of all sales skills – Luck.
Tags: Commodity Sales, Consultative Selling, Sales, Sales Methodologies, sales process, Sales Tips
The Consultative Sales Process – The dominant methodology in today’s sales thinking. I’d like to test that idea for a moment…
If you have ever worked with me, you’ve certainly heard it a lot – the migration of Value from Product to Seller, the challenges facing sellers today and how solution consulting can address those requirements to help sellers succeed in today’s market.
But to be honest – I’m seeing cracks in the plaster. There are alternate voices from smart people that I trust (check out Jeremy Miller) who are increasingly putting messages out there that we are moving into different paths and paradigms.
And I think this is a good thing (no Martha intended).
The role sellers provide in the sales process is changing again. Here’s my thought…
The move and positioning focused on employing the consultative sales process as a way of preventing or subverting the commodity or price driven sale is increasingly not the right path. It is a defensive stance that is losing ground – it is time to give in and embrace the commodity sale.
Now my thinking does not go so far as to throw out the consultative process altogether – but this is something I’m going to look closer at.
What does it mean to embrace the commodity sale?
Better yet – think I’m wrong?
Tags: buyer-centric, Sales, sales process, Selling
My focus is on re-thinking the entire sales approach. Almost every “sales process” out there now is positioned from a seller-centric POV, but the trouble is that sales has become a buyer-centric reality.
When sales people get frustrated by specific elements of the sales process, it’s usually due to the fact that they are still “pitching” and “selling” to prospects. Selling is no longer something that happens “to” a prospect, but “with”… and this is proof of the buyer-centric world of today. Selling, when done at it’s best is a process of helping someone get what they value, of acting as an agent or broker of services to leverage what your company can do for the prospect.
It’s not just the latest and greatest idea from sales trainers – its based on a key facets of human nature:
People value what they think more than what they are told.
By helping prospects arrive at their own conclusions and by involving your prospects in the sales process itself, you leverage their buy-in and participation. Doing this automatically sets you apart from your seller-centric competition. You simply operate differently.
In a time of increasing commodification of products and services, the subjective concept of value has migrated away from product – and now resides in the seller. Too many sales people don’t recognize that shift yet, and therefore fail to provide value despite their best efforts to do so.
It’s not so much what you sell – but how you sell it.