By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® – The Sales Training Company
This article is a continuation from last week’s article, as part of the IIWII series.
With few exceptions, sellers want to achieve quota. When they aren’t year to date or better, sales managers often tell them what and how much to do. Let’s assume a seller is having trouble finding new opportunities and building pipeline. A manager will likely tell them to spend more time on bus dev activities (quantity of effort), call at high levels, lead with business issues, avoid leading with product and qualify new opportunities. As I hope you see, these are all valid suggestions, but such advice won’t help sellers improve the quality of their bus dev efforts unless managers teach or model how to do these things.
When dispensing such advice to sellers the elephant in the manager’s office is that sellers lack the requisite execution skills. When performance lags, managers should step back and assess whether the issue(s) for a seller is that he or she will not or cannot execute tasks. Will not requires a manager to motivate a seller whose attitude must be addressed. The more frequent problem is that sellers cannot perform task and means there are one or more skill deficiencies that managers must try to identify and address. In life as in sales you can ask someone to do a task they don’t know how to do but the results will be disappointing.
In creating the CustomerCentric Selling® sales process the coauthors identified 8 steps in the buying process and mapped the skills needed to execute sales ready messaging® to achieve each of these defined milestones. Sellers attending workshops leave with a common set of skills and a degree of mastery through supervised role-plays. Sales managers are given approaches to assessing potential gaps and setting up custom programs to help sellers shore up deficient areas both in the core workshop as well as in one-day Sales Process Management Workshops.
In taking a broader look, other silos (Product Marketing, Product Development and Product Marketing) should have an overview of the process to better understand their roles in supporting the sales with the ultimate goal of providing superior buying experiences. A necessary step in doing this is to create granular definitions of the deliverables each silo must provide and ensure the staff has the requisite skills to create them.
Organizations have and will continue to realize benefit from upgrading the skill sets of their sales staff and creating sales ready messaging® for them to execute. Organizations that take the time to define the roles of other silos that intersect with sales, define deliverables and provide the skills needed to create them will enjoy a higher probabilities of making the buyer experience a sustainable competitive advantage.
While Sales is the front line interface with buyers, Product Development, Product Marketing and Marketing play vital roles in supporting seller efforts. Sales is most responsible because the end result (revenue) is readily measured. Defining deliverables (results) for supporting silos provides more widespread accountability.