Monday, May 2, 2016

Sales Strategy: A Common but Fatal Leadership Mistake

a cartoon man looks through binoculars to the future and does not see he is about to go over a waterfall

In an eagerness to envision the future of a sales transformation that has been in the works for a long time, sales leaders are apt to neglect some of the basics along the way. Then suddenly they are faced with the failure of the entire initiative. You can’t just dream about the future goal; you need to pay attention to the journey and what might prevent you from success.

1. Make sure your sales managers are on board and ready.
Presumably, your sales managers joined in the discussions about how and why you wanted to transform the go-to-market sales strategy and sales force. And, hopefully, they agreed that change was needed and timely. But remember how difficult organizational change can be. You may need to remind sales managers of why you have undertaken this initiative. The more accepting they are of the challenges ahead, the better they can counsel and guide their followers.

So, in theory they are on board but are they ready in practice? Do they have the solution selling skills and competencies that the “new” sales effort will require? Let’s say you are shifting from a transactional to a solution sale. You need to make sure that your managers are thoroughly grounded in solution selling training and are ready to coach their team members through the process. Get your managers set up to succeed.

2. Recognize that customers want true value.
Over half of the reasons customers stay loyal is due to the value they get from the customer experience. Are your sales and service teams equipped to bring fresh insight and visible value to each and every customer interaction? Customers appreciate new and challenging perspectives. We see in our business at LSA Global that our clients value the questions we ask that change the way they think about their priorities, problems and issues. It is often as simple as questioning whether a customer really needs what they ask for. 

For example, when a business unit leader says they want solution selling training, we often challenge their assumption that training will cure what ails them. There could be strategic ambiguity hindering growth.  There could be an inconsistent or conflicting sales culture derailing key initiatives.  And there could be systemic talent, technology, compensation, product or process problems that need fixing instead. Before trying to add value, smart solution sellers identify the root cause of the pain.

3. Understand and align with your customer’s buying process.
Be sure you understand how the buyer buys. How many stakeholders are there? Who can help you through the maze of buyers to the one who has the true buying power?  What is the decision making process and timeline?  What resources are they willing to commit to the project?  What decision-making criteria will be used?  How will they measure success?  What have been the barriers to solving the problem in the past?  You get the idea…the more you help your buyer to succeed, the better off you both will be.

This is a time when you need to pay attention to the trees as well as the forest to get to where you want to go.

Download Strategy Sales Clarity Whitepaper to See if your Sales Strategy Is Good Enough.

Learn more at http://www.lsaglobal.com/solution-selling-training/

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