Sailing Through the Business Sea: The Imperative of Understanding Client Industries
In the intricate dance of sales management, salespeople often become profoundly attuned to their own products, services, and performance metrics. However, they sometimes lose sight of an elemental cornerstone: genuinely understanding the client’s business. This omission is akin to a sailor venturing into the sea without comprehending its currents and tides. A lack of this depth of knowledge can lead one astray, making the voyage uncertain and potentially perilous.
Let’s start with an underlying principle: triumph isn’t simply about the merit of your product or service in the sales ecosystem. It’s intricately tied to the bigger picture of your client’s sector, their unique requirements, and inherent challenges. For instance, a physician would never recommend a new drug without an exhaustive assessment. Similarly, a sales maven should not provide solutions without a comprehensive grasp of the client’s operational goals and challenges.
Picture the world of commerce as a sprawling symphony with its distinct sections – finance, technology, health, entertainment, and more. Introducing a novel element into this setting without recognizing its intended cadence and synchronization is like striking a discordant note amidst a harmonious performance.
Moreover, the essence of industries is not static. They’re akin to living entities, evolving and reshaping, influenced by many external dynamics. Remember the challenges of supply chains a few years ago during the global pandemic crisis, which was disruptive to nearly every industry. Reflect on the tech sphere, where an innovation leap of merely 10% can redefine market paradigms. Or ponder the fashion industry, where trends can instantly pivot demand dynamics. This underlines the paramount significance of monitoring industry currents. It’s about envisioning not just the present but anticipating the future trajectory. And this foresight isn’t just academic—it’s a tangible asset sculpting sales tactics, product innovations, and client dialogues.
With each industry wave comes a plethora of challenges and windows of opportunity. A sales expert attuned to these modulations can craft proactive strategies. For instance, if insights indicate a surging trend of telecommuting in a domain, a firm dealing in office essentials might transition towards catering to home office needs. The fulcrum here lies in actionable strategies. Recognizing a shift is the starting line. The finish line? Crafting aligned strategies saying, “We recognize your industry’s transition, and our solution is primed to cater to it.”
To the CEOs, sales leaders, and organizational vanguards heeding this narrative, the takeaway is obvious: arm your sales brigades with the arsenal to perpetually decode industry waves. Foster a culture of perennial learning through seminars, journals, or deep-dive analytical sessions.
The commercial realm doesn’t exist in isolation. A ripple in one segment can cascade through others. By ensuring your salespeople are enlightened about their relative industry and the overarching market landscape, you elevate them, and consequently, your enterprise, to a pedestal of relevance, cognizance, and adaptability.
Truly grasping your client’s domain transcends the immediate deal. It crafts enduring alliances, painting you as an ally, not merely a supplier. Demonstrating to a client your intrinsic understanding of their industry’s intricacies, evolutions, and potential paths carves an indelible impression. It resonates with the ethos, “As your domain transitions, we remain with you, presenting apt solutions at every juncture.”
In the fluctuating oceans of commerce, let profound insight and cognition be your navigating star, directing you toward triumph, pertinence, and perennial collaborations.
Welcome to another exciting episode of Two Tall Guys Talking Sales with hosts Kevin Lawson and Sean O’Shaughnessey. This episode delves into the vital world of outbound sales in a post-COVID landscape. We discuss strategies for creating an effective outbound pipeline, reflecting on our experiences with trade shows, and how to nail your unique value proposition. Discover how to master omnichannel outreach and understand why persistence is key in today’s competitive market.
Key Topics Discussed:
The Trade Show Experience: Kevin and Sean open up about the highs and lows of trade shows and how the pandemic has shifted the industry’s focus from this traditional method of sales and marketing.
Creating an Effective Outbound Pipeline: Our hosts emphasize the importance of having a clear, unique value proposition and understanding how it can resonate with your potential customers.
Omni Channel Outreach: Kevin and Sean highlight the significance of reaching out to prospects across various channels – emails, phone calls, social media, and even traditional mail. They discuss the need for persistence in reaching out and making numerous touches to get a prospect’s attention.
Prospecting and Value Proposition: Sean shares insights on how a value proposition can differ based on the industry and target audience. They talk about understanding and tailoring your value proposition to your audience for better customer engagement.
Leveraging Tools for Sales Outreach: The hosts discuss a range of tools that can assist in streamlining and tracking your outreach efforts, from LinkedIn prospecting tools to CRMs and even task management tools.
Kevin: “Trade shows in a pre COVID environment were the lifeblood of many sales organizations… But here we are in a post-COVID world, and what we saw in the midst of COVID was pipeline evacuation.”
Sean: “The first thing I tell everybody is, “What are you going to say, and what makes it unique and valuable to your prospects?”
Sean: “Your unique value proposition may be targeted to a specific customer and you might have a different one targeted to a different customer… but then you need to make unique messaging for every one of those and unique tries for each one of those.”
LinkedIn prospecting tools
Task management tools (Asana, Trello, Monday.com)
In this episode of Two Tall Guys Talking Sales, Kevin Lawson and Sean O’Shaughnessey offer a practical, insightful guide to successfully navigating outbound sales in our new normal. They share their expertise in creating a compelling, unique value proposition, omnichannel outreach’s importance, and persistence’s role in sales. You’ll gain a wealth of advice, from understanding your value in a specific industry to leveraging various outreach tools to streamline and enhance your prospecting process. Listen to this episode for a deep dive into the tactics and strategies that can reshape your approach to outbound sales.
Bob Robinson, Jr., and his mechanical-engineer father, Bob Robinson, Sr., came up with the idea for a product the world truly needed 25 years ago: a “no-touch” restroom cleaning machine. Their company, Kaivac, is a Hamilton, OH-based manufacturer of cleaning machines. Hamilton is a suburb of Cincinnati, OH.
“We were on our hands and knees, crawling around the bathroom,” recalls Bob, Jr. “It was disgusting. We said, ‘There’s got to be a better way.'”
Through hard work and dedication, the Robinsons created the KaiVac to help solve that initial problem in public restrooms. Over the years, they grew the idea to create dedicated machines to clean kitchen floors, hallway floors, and grocery displays. Beyond its bathroom cleaning technology, it has expanded into floor cleaning and spill response machines and has 18 patents with 16 pending.
Along with growing their manufacturing capabilities, they also grew their sales capabilities. They adopted a hybrid strategy of selling through distribution and selling directly to key customers. Their direct team, under the leadership of Bob Robinson, Jr., who had taken on the role of VP of Sales, closed many enviable customers with massive deals, including Walmart, Kroger, and Target.
They realized that they needed to step up their sales professionalism after having a down year during COVID after having a record-breaking year the year before. They wanted to grow to $75 million in annual revenue within three years and a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) of $1 billion in annual revenue within 20 years.
Bob Jr. says Kaivac is just getting started. “At 20 to 25 years in business, you’re at an inflection point where you’ve got resources, tenure, and history and have been through ‘adolescence,'” he says. “Now is the chance to build a professionalized organization.”
They contacted New Sales Expert LLC as the nation was coming out of the global pandemic, but before all the supply chain problems had paused. New Sales Expert LLC is a fractional vice president of sales consultancy. Sean O’Shaughnessey, the CEO of New Sales Expert, is aligned with SalesXceleration and has 38 years of experience in sales and sales management.
According to Sean, “Kaivac is a joy to work with. They are the shining star of Hamilton, OH, and Butler County. They had so much raw potential when I walked in the door; all I had to do was to focus their energy and enthusiasm on working smarter and just a little harder.”
Building an organization with a heart
Kaivac had a great culture to build on to make a great sales culture. Before Sean showed up, the company leadership had already developed their One-Page Strategic Plan and their “Why?” statement that reflects the owners’ Christian faith: “To glorify God by using KAIVAC as an instrument for Good.”
In addition to the “Why?” statement, they had drafted an acronym called FIGS that conveys the “heart” of the company. FIGS—which appears on signs that hang on the factory floor and in break rooms—stands for
F: “First shall be last, last shall be first.”
I: Integrity—as in “The truth shall set you free.”
G: Golden Rule—meaning “treat others how you want to be treated.”
S: Servant’s Heart, as in “We are in a race to help people.”
The company uses the first three letters of its name–KAI–to inspire the team’s thinking and actions. These letters stand for inspiring phrases such as: “Keep At It,” “Keep Always Improving,” “Keep Attempting the Impossible,” and “(creates) Kick-Ass Inventions.”
Prioritizing net income and growth
Sean’s first change was to make a compensation plan that motivated the sales team to sell bigger deals and to sell them quickly. Kaivac implemented a 50/50 plan in concert with defined territories to keep the Key Account salespeople focused on the goal of more significant and profitable orders.
After the motivation component was in place, it was time to help the team learn how to sell big deals more repeatedly. The big deals of the past had been challenging to work on and, while very profitable, had been disruptive to close. Sean encouraged the company to read John McMahon’s book, “The Qualified Sales Leader,” and with that tome as inspiration, quickly deployed MEDDPICCC to help them qualify deals.
MEDDPICCC by itself is not enough. The company had already licensed Salesforce, one of the highest-rated CRMs on the market, but Sean put MEDDPICCC into the various stages of the sales process to ensure that the salespeople knew all the required information about a big deal. Sean also created dashboards within Salesforce to track deal progress at the management level. The company implemented Sales Plans for Key Accounts and the Power Matrix to document the most influential people in the customer’s decision-making process.
The very first big deals that the company found after Sean started to help them also benefited from the Decision Timeline. The Decision Timeline is a tool to allow the sales team to walk through the entire decision-making process of the customer to understand all of the steps required to make a significant investment decision. It allowed frank and honest conversations to take place with the prospect as the team worked to close the largest deal in the company’s history to date.
Time to run on their own
As with most of the assignments with New Sales Expert, LLC, the goal is to allow the company to run independently. Bob Robinson Jr. was the company’s VP of Sales. Still, he needed to shed those responsibilities to help run the entire company. To finish the transition, Bob and three of his leaders took SalesXceleration‘s Certified Sales Leadership course delivered by Sean O’Shaughnessey.
The Certified Sales Leader (CSL) designation is the country’s most comprehensive sales leadership certification program offered. CSL leadership training and certification will prepare you with the analytical, tactical, and strategic sales management skills needed to drive revenue growth now…and into the future. CSL training expands the skill set of a Sales Manager by providing coaching, techniques, and tools to lead a successful sales team.
All four Kaivac leaders passed the CSL test. One of them, Mike Perazzo, was tagged to take over as Executive Vice President of Sales. According to Mike, “Sean is a master coach for helping shape sales process and methodology. Following his methods will help grow sales faster, transactionally, and strategically. Often a couple of pieces of the puzzle are missing, and Sean helps quickly identify them.
You have everything to gain by having Sean look at your current approach. He is a change agent and disruptive to the status quo. Pushing the pace and flow of deals is his sweet spot. I am a better sales leader because of my time with him.”
Sean O’Shaughnessey of New Sales Expert, LLC states, “Kaivac is a wonderful company. They have created a line of machines that gives pride to the workers in one of the toughest jobs in America – keeping things clean. They are focused on the success of their customers and their employees. They had all of the raw skills within their sales team to be a great sales organization; they only needed me to focus them on activities and techniques that allowed them to close bigger deals faster and at a higher profit level.”
“If anyone works in a clean building with clean restrooms and hard surface floors, they are either cleaning it with Kaivac technology or paying too much for that cleanliness,” Sean explains.
Revenue and profitability have grown since Sean helped Kaivac develop a higher level of sales professionalism. Recent results have shown a dramatic increase in revenue and profitability. The sales and revenue growth have allowed the entire family of Kaivac to prosper. The Robinsons have always considered their employees an extension of their family. The company’s prosperity is passed along to team members through a bonus structure for the whole company. It all fits into the spirit of Kaivac. Bob Jr. says, “Our organization was built to have heart.”
In this enlightening episode of “Two Tall Guys Talking Sales,” Sean O’Shaughnessey and Kevin Lawson delve into the fundamental aspect of setting clear expectations in sales, mirroring the way parents do with their children. With mid-year reviews around the corner, it’s time to reflect, analyze, and readjust your sales strategies.
Kevin starts with a compelling anecdote about his childhood bedtime routine to explain the critical importance of clear communication and setting expectations. The duo emphasizes that salespeople and leaders must carry the same burden to ensure success. They then transition into discussing data, people, and customers, shedding light on how they interplay in the sales ecosystem.
Sean broadens the conversation to the art of adaptation and how market changes could necessitate mid-year modifications to sales processes. This aspect is brought into sharp focus with the unprecedented disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Both hosts agree on the necessity of data-informed decision-making, underlining the importance of balancing past performance with future potential. They delve into the aspects contributing to understanding a customer’s potential, including market changes and various environmental factors.
Kevin and Sean also touch upon the essentiality of upskilling the sales team, the significance of coaching, and the benefit of taking a hard look at individual performance. The conversation concludes with a detailed discussion on data analysis, with both hosts advocating for leveraging your CRM system for a thorough assessment of your sales process, the documentation, and the distribution of deals.
So, whether you’re a seasoned salesperson or new to the game, this episode is filled with vital insights that you can incorporate into your sales strategy, setting you up for success in the latter half of the year.
The global pandemic has caused crisis after crisis to hit US companies. These crises include:
global supply chain problems affecting worldwide shipping
increased prices due to the shortage of components or subassemblies
To assist our clients, Sean O’Shaughnessey and Kevin Lawson teamed up to create the following webinar. The webinar originally aired on January 13, 2022.
The following is a transcript of the webinar video above. It has been sparsely edited to increase its readability, but many of the idioms and poor spoken grammar have been left in place. The transcription was automatically generated by Sonix.ai and, as capable as that product is, there are times when words are missed or sentence structure was incorrectly interpreted. We have tried to catch all of these software misses, but we are confident that some still remain. The below text is provided for those that would rather read than watch a video.