In recent discussions with many high performing B2B sales leaders, I have asked them a simple question; “What area of sales do they find has changed the most in the past few years?” Many of the answers are quite predictable:
- The client is more aware of viable alternative solutions.
- Clients are demanding increased customization and lower prices.
- Clients are getting overwhelmed and are trying to commoditize our solutions.
One answer really stood out for me. An experienced sales leader told me that his team is experiencing a lot of pressure from clients to not only explain what the specific benefits are to them BUT to also explain HOW these benefits are to be obtained in the client’s environment. At the same time, the sales team has fewer resources to deploy. This leads to is a dilemma for the sales team; do we invest in this opportunity knowing that the majority of the effort is going to be put towards learning the client’s specific environment and then mapping our solutions to it?
When I asked how this particular sales leader makes decisions on which opportunities to invest in, the answers were vague. It came down to a “feel” for the opportunity and the level of trust that the leader has in the particular sales rep who is leading the charge. I agree that these components are important, but there still has to be way to keep score.
Good tools for Sales Discovery and Pursuit can help get everyone on the same page and look at factors that were successful in other clients. While it is dangerous to generalize, there is value in objectively using past success and failure to begin the assessment process. Drilling down four to five levels on important metrics with “why” and “how” questions will clarify the opportunity and identify areas that need additional work.
It is also useful to keep data on opportunities won, lost and delayed that have been put through the proper Sales Discover/Pursuit scoring. How are our assumptions holding up? Are we engaged with the right clients? At the right level? Do we have the right message? Over time the data will lead you in the right directions.
Tools and scorecards that are objectively and consistently applied across the sales team will cut down on confusion and wasted energy while allocating valuable resources as effectively as possible.Share