By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® – The Sales Training Company
Ask senior executives “who positions your company’s offerings” and you are likely to be told that it is Marketing’s role. This knee-jerk response in theory is a valid answer. With anything related to selling, it’s amazing how theory and reality diverge.
Pose the question differently to executives and you are more likely to get answers that reflect reality. “Let’s assume you just had sellers go through product training on a major new announcement. After going through the training, the following week three different sellers have appointments with CFO’s of 3 companies all within a target segment. If someone listened to a recording of the 3 calls, would they:
Conclude the sellers were selling the same offering?
Conclude the sellers were working for the same company?
The Reality: In most companies is that after receiving product training (that points sellers toward deadly “spray and pray” calls on executives), it is left up to each seller to decide how to position offerings to the various vertical segments and titles within them. Journeymen sellers make similar calls in all situations in an attempt to educate buyers. Superior sellers know how to uncover outcomes buyers would like to achieve and relate to them how the offering can help them improve business results.
The challenge is that without consistent positioning down to the granular levels of vertical, title and business outcomes B & C Players struggle if and when they get in front of executive buyers. Sadly, the only thing worse than not getting to decision maker levels is getting there and having calls go poorly. Product training and sales training are often separate silos that each seller is faced with integrating. It doesn’t appear nor belong in sellers’ job descriptions, but by default it falls on their shoulders.
Sales enablement initiatives often involve the creation of playbooks, especially for generating new leads. Unless there is an approach to mapping only those features that are relevant to a specific title’s business outcomes, sellers will continue their struggle to net out all the product training they received into a coherent 20-minute conversation about a buyer’s business issues.
The higher sellers call, the more likely the conversations will center on one or more of 3-4 key business issues. Executives want to buy outcomes, not offerings. Arming sellers to uncover those outcomes and limit the scope in calls to developing buyer needs for only those capabilities that are relevant to achieving the outcome could empower B & C Players to emulate calls “A” Players make.