By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® – The Sales Training Company
Image courtesy of Franky242 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
One of a sales manager’s primary responsibilities is ensuring salespeople work on qualified opportunities. After executing sales ready messaging® sellers trained in CustomerCentric Selling® should be able to answer the following call debriefing questions:
1. What title they called on?
2. What goal(s) the buyer shared?
3. For each goal, what are the reasons it can’t be achieved today (without your offering)?
4. What capabilities within your offering are needed to address the reasons?
5. What is the value (potential benefit vs. estimated cost)?
Oddly enough, if non-Key Players with or without a seller’s help evaluate offerings and request funding, financial approvers will want answers to questions 2 – 5. In the same way, sales managers want to know opportunities are grounded in value and payback, so it is financial approvers want the same assurance. Both parties recognize that without adequate payback expenditures won’t be made.
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You’ve heard me rail on about how many internal evaluations done without seller help focus on products and lack enterprise views of business outcomes that can be improved. Two comments regarding the CCS® approach to qualification:
- When champion letters address the debriefing questions, the buyer is far better positioned to explain why initiatives should be funded.
- If Sequences of Events (SOE) are agreed upon, one of the most critical steps is the cost vs. benefit (usually a “Go/No-Go step) for buyers and vendors.
This points out the value sales professionals should bring to the table. The old view that sellers “educate” buyers should be a distant memory. Information on the Internet is in such abundance that non-Key Players self-educate and value being shielded from seller attempts to influence requirements.
Ultimately sellers and buyers share a common objective: Determine if buying offerings is a sound financial decision. Self-service, non-executive buyers are ill equipped to build business cases. For that reason funding is likely to be denied (and a great deal of time wasted).
For decades, sellers enjoyed an advantage as the keepers of product information. The pendulum swung when the mind-numbing amount of information became available via the Internet and social networking. The pendulum appears to have swung too far. Enlightened buyers armed with information about offerings could benefit from seller efforts to quantify the potential benefits and payback that can be realized.
Buyers and vendors would benefit if they found ways to collaborate when evaluating offerings.