To be truly successful and maximise sales opportunities, sales people need concise and pertinent information about your product or service. Here we explore some of the key items of information that can make or break a sale.
Critical business issues
To sell a complex product or service a sales person must sell ‘wide and high’. For the best chance of success, your sales people need to appreciate what critical business issues (CBIs) are shared by your customers’ senior management teams, and be able to explain what impact your offering can have on their business by helping them to address these issues. Sometimes referred to as ‘outcomes’, CBIs can cover all aspects of your customers’ operations:
• Business: how your offering helps each customer achieve high-level objectives, such as profitable growth, new market entry, progress towards a declared ‘vision’ etc.
• Financial: how you can help the customer reduce costs, increase revenues, improve margins etc.
• Operational: making processes more efficient, effective or timely
• Technology: showing how your offering will improve your customers’ use of IT infrastructure and services, or other industry-specific critical technology
Frequently, organisations fail to state explicitly how their offerings address critical business issues and lead to desired outcomes, leaving it up to sales people (or worse still, the customers) to work it out for themselves.
Positioning to win
Although many organisations undertake competitive analysis, the results are often presented as a feature-by-feature or pricing comparison, rather than in a format sales channels can use to win business. For sales success you should present your competitive advantage to sales people in a way that:
• Enables them to understand the solution capabilities that are important for the customer
• Provides a simple overview of your competitors’ relative strengths and weaknesses
• Lists pertinent facts about your offering that sales people can use effectively in sales meetings
• Enables sales people to ‘sell up’ your strengths while ‘selling around or past’ your comparative weaknesses
Without the focus on what’s important to the customer, sales people will fail to present your offering in the best possible light, allowing competitors undue influence upon the customer’s decision process and making it harder for you to win each deal.
Many companies write up stories about how they won deals, but almost invariably these are produced for a customer audience and not specifically for sales channels. Consequently the stories leave out what is most important to help your sales people to be successful, namely:
• What we did right during the selling process
• How we engaged the right people in the customer’s organisation
• What steps we took to ensure we had the appropriate level of support for the sale
• How we overcame the competition
With success stories that cover these aspects of a sale, sales people can learn quickly ‘what works and what doesn’t work’. They will emulate these best practices because they, too, want to be successful.
What can be done?
Sales people want information that helps them sell effectively, but they need it presented to them in a way that they can readily access and absorb. Combining the above important topics with other critical selling information in an interactive format has been shown across a wide range of industries and companies to be a reliable vehicle for equipping sales channels to be successful.
Providing your sales channels with interactive materials that concisely and pertinently capture what’s important for sales people will improve your sales success.
To find out how the proven RVWL Sales Enablement Program could deliver effective sales materials for your products and services, click here.