The Art of Tailored Sales: Aligning with Customer Goals
In the sophisticated arena of modern business, it’s essential to view sales as less of a transaction and more as an art form akin to bespoke tailoring. Visualize the meticulous process a tailor undertakes: measuring every contour, considering every preference, and ultimately delivering a piece that feels personal and perfect. This analogy is apt for sales professionals who prioritize understanding their clients’ distinct goals, like crafting a suit that impeccably fits its wearer.
Establishing the central idea: every company operates within an ever-evolving ecosystem, pivoting and maneuvering based on various factors ranging from market flux to competitive forces. Amidst this complex dance, firms constantly search for products and partnerships that propel them closer to their targets. To cement this concept further, let’s reflect on a striking study postulated that solutions explicitly aligned with a company’s goals have a 60% higher probability of consideration than generic offerings. What’s underscored here isn’t merely a trend but a resounding preference for tailored solutions.
Now, understanding these goals isn’t as straightforward as it seems. It’s not about a singular, monolithic ambition but rather a rich tapestry of layered objectives. Beneath an apparent goal of, say, a 10% market share growth, there might lie nuanced purposes, like refining brand perception or tapping into fresh demographics.
Yet, diving into these layered objectives presents its own set of challenges. Not every goal is transparently communicated. It demands keen discernment and a nuanced understanding of various stakeholders’ perspectives. For instance, while a CEO is often zeroed in on amplifying shareholder value, a CMO might be more engrossed in sculpting brand narratives, and concurrently, a COO could be engrossed in streamlining operations.
So, how should a sales professional proceed in the face of such complexities? The strategy unfolds in multiple stages. Begin with attentive consultations; these sessions should prioritize listening and discerning as much as they do showcase your product. Dive deep into available resources – from press releases to annual reports – offering a view through which a company’s broader goals can be perceived. Engaging with multiple stakeholders provides a more rounded perspective, ensuring no aspect of the company’s ambition remains obscure. And, of course, always prioritize feedback, as this often serves as a goldmine for insights on company priorities.
Such comprehensive preparation sets the stage for a transformative approach to selling. Armed with these insights, the final pitch transitions into an act of alignment. It accentuates how the proposed solution doesn’t merely address a challenge but seamlessly integrates with the company’s aspirations, acting as a potent catalyst.
This methodology doesn’t just elevate the sales process; it completely redefines the relationship dynamic. As a sales professional adopting this approach, one is no longer perceived merely as a vendor but is recognized as a strategic partner. Someone who doesn’t just understand the metrics but grasps the dreams, aspirations, and challenges underlying those numbers.
It’s imperative for CEOs, sales managers, and all sales professionals to internalize this approach. Just as the world’s top tailor doesn’t merely produce a garment but crafts a personal experience, so should a sales professional. By understanding, aligning, and delivering with such precision, your product transcends just being an option for your prospect to consider; your product is elevated to an indispensable choice. Remember, in the intricate ballet of business, the nuanced understanding and tailored approach wins the day. Aim to be that master tailor in the world of sales. Understand with depth, align with precision, and watch your solutions become the favored choice.
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 dynamic episode of the “Two Tall Guys Talking Sales” podcast, hosts Kevin Lawson and Sean O’Shaughnessey, delve into the importance of strategy in successful sales performance. Using a navigational analogy, the hosts discuss how just like using an app like Waze, successful sales also requires anticipation and understanding of the challenges on the way.
Drawing parallels between navigation and sales, Kevin and Sean underscore the value of proactive strategic planning. From the importance of mapping out the sales process akin to charting a route on a map to responding to unforeseen challenges, just like navigating detours on a road trip, they highlight how a robust strategy can guide salespeople from the starting point to their goals effectively.
Touching on subjects like the sales process, tactics, and mid-year sales strategy, the hosts shed light on the importance of a sales process, likening it to a paper map providing a general path. They discuss how technology today allows for more dynamic navigation, reflecting on how modern sales techniques can help efficiently reach sales targets.
Kevin shares the difference between strategy and tactics, comparing a sales strategy to a commander’s intent in the military, emphasizing that strategies are generally long-term. Sean continues the conversation, sharing how salespeople can be proactive in their strategy, planning in advance for predictable stages in the sales process.
On a practical note, the duo also discusses how sales leaders can help their teams distinguish between strategy, tactics, and to-do items, nurturing their understanding and development in the sales process. Lastly, the hosts touch on the importance of strategic planning for the coming year, even in the middle of the current one.
Listeners are sure to find actionable insights and practical advice in this episode that could help them to formulate effective sales strategies and tactics, streamline their sales processes, and drive their sales performance forward.
In this episode of Two Tall Guys Talking Sales, Sean O’Shaughnessey and Kevin Lawson discuss the importance of standing out and differentiating oneself in the competitive world of sales. They explore how salespeople can escape the commodity mindset and become trusted advisors to their clients, ultimately leading to more money and success.
Key takeaways from the episode include:
The importance of differentiating oneself in the sales process
Understanding and embracing the role of an expert in your field
“The Challenger Sale” book’s approach, and its impact on sales success
The dangers of proposing too early and devaluing your offering
Creating value for your clients by helping them be successful
Evaluating and improving your sales pipeline to increase revenue
The hosts also mention insightful books and previous podcast guests, such as Kelly Crandall and Jim Hardwick (both Fractional Sales VPs aligned with Sales Xceleration), who provide valuable perspectives on sales and leadership.
Sean and Kevin encourage our listeners to reach out with any questions or topics they would like to see covered in future episodes.
Don’t miss this episode full of practical advice and insights on improving your sales game, adding value to your clients, and ultimately making more money. Listen now to learn from the experts, and start transforming your sales approach today!
In this episode of the podcast, Kevin and Sean discuss the necessity for sales leaders to adapt their advice and strategies in today’s ever-changing environment. With the numerous changes and challenges that businesses face daily, sales leaders must constantly evolve and stay ahead of the curve to help their teams succeed.
The discussion touches on how being a trusted advisor to clients is crucial for success regardless of market shifts and economic turmoil. The ability to understand and professionally empathize with clients and their challenges allows salespeople to guide clients and prospects toward solutions effectively. Emphasizing the significance of leading indicators in sales activities and reframing value propositions according to clients’ perspectives is vital.
To achieve enduring success, sales leaders must instill the importance of understanding a prospect’s business, its competitors, and its market value to the sales team. This will ultimately make them trusted advisors to their clients and help them navigate the complex and ever-changing business landscape.