Last week, I surveyed 53 sales managers, asking them, among other things, what essential skills their top-performing salespeople possess. Okay, it wasn’t an actual survey. Our team at SRG recently completed rolling out a sales training program from a large sales organization, and I was reviewing my notes from interviews I had with frontline sales managers as part of the customization process. As I reviewed these notes, I started noticing trends.
Early in the sales process, typically during discovery, it’s critical to learn as much about your customer’s issues, concerns, problems, and desires as possible. The better you understand your customer, the more effectively you’ll be able to position your solution as a way of addressing their needs. But often, during a discovery call, customers are reluctant to share information, or they give incomplete answers to your questions.
Hiring isn’t an exact science. Sometimes you think you have identified the perfect sales candidate, and it doesn’t pan out. Other times you aren’t quite sure whether the person will be a fit, and it does work. But within the high-stakes challenge of building a world-class sales organization, there are four things you can do to decrease uncertainty and increase your success rate.
Sales leaders often express that their sales teams need to close more business. While these leaders may be frustrated with low win rates, this rarely has to do with how their sales people approach “closing,” but more importantly how their sales people approach “selling.” You’ve probably heard the sales cliché “ABCs of Selling: Always Be Closing” (made famous in the movie “Glengarry Glen Ross” and, irreverently, on “Saturday Night Live.”) You can imagine the hard-hitting sales rep arriving on the scene with his sales pitch to pound the customer into submission to close the deal (another cliché!). While sales professionals should strive to close business, the problem with this approach is that it is all about the salesperson’s objective and not about the customer’s needs and priorities.
It’s harder than ever to reach senior executives. The usual protections provided by gatekeepers are still there—but now it’s compounded by extra physical distance and other distractions. In this environment, sales reps need to ensure they are perceived as being relevant and bringing fresh insights to the valuable meeting once they get it. They need to speak senior executives’ language and be clear about their objective. The payoff is engaging in more strategic relationships, developing longer-term relationships, insulating themselves from the competition, and closing more large deals. Here are four simple steps – also known as the RAMP method – that can help you sell higher in the organization.
Sales professionals frequently talk about “selling value,” but few know how to focus the conversation on issues that impact value for the buyer. That’s unfortunate because the best way to offset pricing pressure is by identifying, quantifying, and presenting value. Selling value begins with a deep understanding of your customer’s business and how your solution positively impacts it. This can be hard work, but it’s worth it. The creativity and effort you put into analyzing your customer’s business prepare you for the next step: quantifying the tangible and intangible benefits your solution will bring.