The Great Sales Robbery
With baseball season upon us, imagine being a team manager. To win, you hire the best possible players that you can. You train them to hit, catch and run as best they can, give them the bats, gloves, uniforms and daily encouragement to encourage peak performance. Now imagine another team that, while it claims its goal is winning, requires each player to wear a 75 pound knapsack every time at bat and on base, and makes them wear sun glasses that are scratched and distort perception. Which team do you think is going to win more games?
As my experiences with corporate sales teams has shown over the years (and again recently), selling is no different. One Company gives its sales team a clear, concise, compelling presentation template and encourages each person to customize it for each prospect. This allows the sales people to master the message, focus on making it resonate with each prospect’s unique needs, and practice delivering it persuasively. The competitor’s sales people use presentation templates that are difficult for both the customer and sales person to follow; it require the sales person to invest a substantial amount of energy to overcome the inherent limitations of the poorly written, structured and designed presentation. The sales people dread presenting and often apologize for the presentation!
While the first group of sales people aligns all their energy to achieve the goal of selling, the latter sales people are having their sales energy robbed from them. Not surprising, the first company consistently outsells the second.
As the Chief Sales Officer (CSO) – whether you’re a CEO, President or dedicated Sales Leader – your decision about sales tools and training determines sales success. You determine whether sales people can coast to each close – and use the extra energy to close more deals – or every day slog through each and every “battle”, ultimately closing fewer deals, with lower margins, and with much more stress and hardship. The enlightened CSO unleashes the sales team’s ability to connect with the prospects and use their sales and negotiation skills to advance the sales process. The other CSO is robbing his people of potential success.
A recent experience with a company’s sales presentation spurred this article. The CSO deserves to have all his sales people delivering ADAPs – audience-driven, authentic presentations – which meet the needs of both the prospect and the sales presenter. ADAPs allow companies to close more easily and quickly, and move on to the next opportunity. Instead he’s forced to rely on an internal graphic producer who has little experience walking in the moccasins of prospects and sales. The best way to build a winning ADAP is to review the presentation from the perspective of the prospect (who sees competitors’ presentations and knows what he/she wants to see, hear and know) and from that of sales people who despair of slogging through overly complicated material that confuses and distracts everyone.
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