Sales Tips: Buyer Intelligence Is Direct Catalyst for Increasing Sales
By Heather McDougald, Director of Sales Operations, Primary Intelligence
At our Outcomes 2016 Conference, I attended the roundtable discussion on the topic “Obtaining Sales Team Buy-In.” A Win Loss program is far more successful when the sales team is fully supportive of the program’s goals and processes. But how do we get them there? I suggested to the group that we talk about a win loss program as another sales enablement tool. Our CEO Ken Allred had just explained in the General Session that he started Primary Intelligence to “help salespeople sell more.”
Another member of the group suggested that win loss is a catalyst for change. It’s true. The principal motivation for uncovering buyer experiences is to inform the organization how it can grow by aligning their efforts with prospect and customer needs, wants, and preferences.
So which is it? Is your win loss program a sales enablement tool? Or is it a catalyst for organizational change?
Accurate, actionable buyer intelligence is a direct catalyst for changes that increase sales.
The problem with focusing on win loss as a change catalyst, though, is messaging. People tend to resist change. In contrast, people embrace the notion of being more successful. So, get the buy-in you need by promoting the promise of their individual success while applying the best practices of change implementation.
Four Best Practices to Get Organizational Buy-in
- “WIIFM.” Winning your sales team over to supporting a win loss program is one of those rare organizational change efforts with a great answer to the “WIIFM” problem. When your sales rep says (or doesn’t say out loud but thinks) “What’s In It For Me?,” the answer is, “a higher win rate and increased commissions.” Not many organizational changes have a direct line to individual success like this. Take full advantage.
- Clearly communicate your goal as improvement rather than punishment. Ken emphasized this in his presentation and we regularly reiterate this commitment in our own company’s win loss program. No one wants to participate in his or her own flogging. A win loss program should never be applied to vilify or embarrass individual shortcomings or failures, but instead as a tool to educate, train, and assist your team in becoming more successful. A clear commitment to this goal will lower resistance to participation and increase acceptance of the intel that is collected. (Download The Win Loss Witch-hunt eBook for best practices on sales team training.)
- Be firm but patient. Resistance to new programs, new ideas, and new ways of thinking is not malicious. Someone who’s done something the same way for a while, who feels successful in his/her role, is naturally going to mistrust change efforts and will defend an entrenched position. At times, it may feel unreasonable or insubordinate, but if your organization is one that encourages honesty from employees and respectful disagreement, reacting too strongly to resistance can crush your healthy, open culture. Give your people an opportunity to express their point of view, but explain clearly that once a strategy or tactical decision has been made, everyone is expected to get behind it. Thereafter, persist. Continue to communicate what is expected, hold people accountable, and repeat the reasons why the change is being made.
- Celebrate success. This isn’t just a form of reward but is also a great way to move those last holdouts to get on board. Proof that the win loss program is making their colleagues more successful is proof that the program is a good idea. Resistance will be seen as self-defeating.
This best practice should help you achieve sales team buy-in with a win loss program and, equally important, with the changes you need to implement based on the buyer intel you collect.