As a sales leader, are these problems plaguing your salespeople?
- They rely too often on features and functions rather than business value
- They are unable to differentiate from the competition
- They're selling too low in the organization
- The deals always come down to price
If so, you're likely dealing with a problem in sales messaging. Your reps don't know how to effectively articulate the value and differenitation of your solutions in a way that has meaning to the buyer. Don't waste another quarter waiting for a miracle to happen. Put the rigor needed behind enabling your sales team to drive consistency in the sales conversations.
Build Alignment Behind the Sales Message
We aren't talking about developing scripts and canned responses to buyer. Effective sales messaging starts with building alignment across your company around these essential questions
What problems do you solve for your customers?
How do you specifically solve those problems?
How do you do it differently than you competition?
What's your proof?
You cannot grow your sales revenues without defining these answers for your sales reps. So before you whipsaw your troops and rally them to cold call or go their accounts to get bigger proposals signed from current customers, take a step back and think about whether you have clear alignment across your company around those essential questions. That's not just on you as a sales leader. It's a company-wide initiative.
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Enable an Effective Discovery Process
Good salespeople ask investigative questions to uncover pain points and needs with true business impact. They also understand the basic value of listening to a prospect's responses. However, a truly effective discovery process means digging deeper with insightful open-ended questions. (Here's a great blog post on asking effective questions)
Many reps accept simple answers to questions and launch right into features and functions without digging deeper. You don't want them offering up a remedy or solution without getting a full scan of the prospect's pain. Teach them to keep asking questions until they get there. Otherwise they'll lose too many deals late in the sales cycle or will be forced to consistently lower the price.
One of the most effective ways salespeople can improve sales conversations is to link their solution to an issue that is so critical to an organization, the prospect can’t go another day without fixing it. If the problem is big enough, it doesn’t matter what your product costs. Opportunities move forward a lot faster when they’re aligned with an issue that can’t go another day without correction.
Focus Differentiation on Buyer Needs
Too often, salespeople rattle off differentiators that may be compelling, but not important to the buyer. If your reps are doing this repeatedly, their buyers are likely thinking your solution is more than they need. Instead, give them a framework that teaches them to ask trap-setting questions that elevate your differentiators in a way that distinguishes your solution from the competitors.
Trap-setting questions are nothing more than discovery questions meant to show your competitor’s weaknesses. They highlight the value that a customer will receive with your solution and the components they won't have if they choose your competitor. We have a pretty solid podcast on the topic which can be found here.
In addition to a focus on the sales conversation, there is nothing more valuable to a sales team than practical tools to execute in the field. If you're tools and frameworks are too complicated, they won't be used and your sales revenues will never improve. Whatever sales initiative you implement in 2017, ensure it's consumable for your reps and your managers.