Two Tall Guys Talking Sales – Breaking the Sales Rollercoaster: Strategies for Steady Success – E60

Two Tall Guys Talking Sales – Breaking the Sales Rollercoaster: Strategies for Steady Success – E60

Welcome to another insightful episode of “Two Tall Guys Talking Sales,” where hosts Kevin Lawson and Sean O’Shaughnessey dive deep into B2B sales management, sharing their extensive knowledge and experience. This episode is a must-listen for sales professionals who handle the entire sales cycle, from lead generation to closing deals. Kevin and Sean explore effective strategies to avoid the pitfalls of one-dimensional outreach and the rollercoaster effect in sales. Their conversation is packed with actionable advice, making it an invaluable resource for anyone looking to enhance their sales skills.

Key Topics Discussed

  1. The Full Sales Cycle Challenge: Understanding the complexities of managing every stage of the sales process.
  2. Diversifying Outreach Strategies: The importance of using multiple channels and methods in sales outreach.
  3. Avoiding the Rollercoaster Effect: Strategies to maintain a consistent pipeline and steady revenue flow.
  4. Building and Utilizing a Robust Contact List: Effective ways to create and engage with a list of potential leads.
  5. The Art of Persistent Outreach: How repeated, varied contacts can lead to successful conversions.
  6. Personalizing Sales Approaches: Tailoring strategies to meet potential clients’ specific needs and preferences.

Key Quotes:

  • Kevin: “We need to be pulling all these threads to weave the cloth that we want to cover our table.”
  • Sean: “You need to make them smarter. And in order to do it, just like when you were in high school, when you were in college, and you were trying to learn a new subject, learn a new thing, did you ever have it where your professor was trying to teach you something? It just wasn’t sticking.”

Additional Resources

Summary Paragraph

In this episode of “Two Tall Guys Talking Sales,” Kevin and Sean provide a treasure trove of insights for sales professionals. They emphasize the importance of a multi-faceted outreach strategy, consistent engagement, and personalization in the sales process. Their practical tips and real-world examples make this episode a valuable listen for anyone in sales, from newbies to seasoned pros. Tune in to learn how to transform your sales approach, build a robust pipeline, and achieve consistent success in your sales career.

Two Tall Guys Talking Sales Podcast – The Sales Alignment Blueprint: Close Deals by Understanding Customer Objectives – Episode 56

Two Tall Guys Talking Sales Podcast – The Sales Alignment Blueprint: Close Deals by Understanding Customer Objectives – Episode 56

Are you tired of potential customers walking away after hearing your pitch? Do you struggle with aligning your sales process with your customer’s goals? In this episode of Two Tall Guys Talking Sales, hosts Kevin Lawson and Sean O’Shaughnessey delve into the critical elements that can make or break your sales cycle. From understanding your customer’s pain points to crafting a sales hypothesis that aligns with their goals, this episode is a goldmine of actionable insights for salespeople, sales leaders, and business owners alike.

Key Topics Discussed

  1. The Importance of Aligning with Customer Goals: Understanding your customer’s objectives is crucial for closing deals.
  2. The Discovery Process: How to ask the right questions to uncover your customers’ real challenges.
  3. Leveraging Public Information: Utilizing annual reports and other public documents to tailor your sales approach.
  4. Sales Hypothesis and Marketing Message: Crafting a compelling narrative that resonates with your target audience.
  5. Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and Target Account Lists: How to identify and prioritize the companies that are most likely to benefit from your product or service.

Key Quotes

  • Kevin: “Listen, pay attention to the words that are coming out of your mouth. ‘Cause they’re telling you how they need to change their own lives. And if that happens to align with the solution you’re offering, you might have a sale.”
  • Sean: “Your annual report is almost like saying, ‘Hey, sales guys come sell to me, but only talk about this one little thing.’ Money will be spent on everything the CEO lists as issues in the annual report.”

Additional Resources

  • Annual Reports: A treasure trove of information for understanding a public company’s goals and challenges.
  • Trade Organization Information: Useful for gaining insights into small and medium-sized businesses.
  • SWOT Analysis: A strategic tool for understanding your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in the sales process.

Summary

This episode is a must-listen if you’re looking to supercharge your sales process, shorten your sales cycle, and ultimately boost your bottom line. Kevin and Sean offer a comprehensive guide to understanding your customer’s needs and aligning your sales strategy accordingly. Don’t miss out on these game-changing insights that could be the key to unlocking your next big deal. Tune in now!

Nine of Spades: Addressing Salesperson Underperformance: Setting Performance Benchmarks: Define standards for success to measure against.

Nine of Spades: Addressing Salesperson Underperformance: Setting Performance Benchmarks: Define standards for success to measure against.

Understanding the Nature of Sales Benchmarks

Let’s start by grounding ourselves in the foundational premise: Sales benchmarks are not merely numerical goals but the defining coordinates of success. If you will, consider them as your organization’s North Star, guiding your sales team through the complexities of quotas, customer relationships, and revenue targets. Benchmarks transcend the limitations of raw numbers and extend into the realm of qualitative assessment—whether it’s the ability to understand customer needs or to align solutions accordingly.

To further clarify, think of benchmarks as akin to a financial portfolio’s balance of risk and return. They offer a comprehensive view of performance, much like a diversified portfolio that offers an integrated financial health assessment. Each component—be it customer retention rates, average deal sizes, or response times—contributes to this multifaceted view. Benchmarks thereby act as a composite score that tells you where you are, where you should be, and, most importantly, how to get there.

The Nuances of Crafting Benchmarks: It’s About Alignment

Creating effective benchmarks requires alignment with broader organizational goals, current market realities, and the sales team’s inherent capabilities. Striking this balance is akin to setting the interest rate in an economy. Set it too high, and you risk stalling growth; set it too low and invite complacency.

Thus, the process of setting benchmarks demands an understanding of averages and outliers. If a high percentage of your sales team consistently meets the benchmarks, they may not be challenging enough. Conversely, if only a small fraction achieves them, it could demoralize the rest and raise questions about the benchmarks’ attainability. The idea is to challenge your team just enough to stretch their capabilities while ensuring the goals are rooted in reality.

Diagnosing and Addressing Underperformance: A Structured Approach

The objective of performance benchmarks isn’t to point fingers at underperformers but to provide a structured mechanism for evaluation and growth. Having established benchmarks, the onus shifts from mere identification to a deep-rooted understanding of ‘why’ the underperformance occurred.

Is it a lack of training? Is it a mismatch between talents and tasks? Or perhaps it’s a more systemic issue related to product-market fit? Each diagnosis demands its unique course of action, requiring leaders to blend empathy with decisiveness. As you identify these pain points, you’re not merely putting a spotlight on them; you’re transforming them into actionable insights. Provide the necessary tools, training, or environmental changes, and monitor the impact on performance against the set benchmarks. In this way, underperformance becomes not a point of failure but an opportunity for both personal and organizational growth.

Benchmarks: Your Compass in the World of Sales

To CEOs, Sales Managers, and leaders in the trenches, understand that performance benchmarks are not just numbers on a performance review sheet but the milestones on your roadmap to success. They offer a dynamic, multi-dimensional gauge by which to measure, evaluate, and, most crucially, enhance performance.

Just as a ship’s captain would be rudderless without a compass, your sales team would navigate in the dark without well-defined benchmarks. These are not mere numbers but signposts in your journey toward sales excellence. They offer a vision of what could be and a measurement of what is. Establishing and adhering to these benchmarks provides direction, clarity, and a lens through which to transform challenges into growth opportunities.

Eight of Spades: Defining your corporate sales strategy: Crafting a Sales Process Flowchart: Visualize the stages in your sales process for consistency

Eight of Spades: Defining your corporate sales strategy: Crafting a Sales Process Flowchart: Visualize the stages in your sales process for consistency

The Quintessential Blueprint for Sales Mastery

In architecture, the blueprint guides turn an imagined design into a tangible, functional building. Similarly, a Sales Process Flowchart is the foundational structure upon which sales organizations can build scalable, consistent, and successful strategies. The importance of this tool lies in its ability to crystallize the sales process into a series of actionable steps, thereby providing a roadmap to success. The goal is to achieve consistency, predictability, and scalability, key tenets that enable sales organizations to meet and surpass their revenue targets.

Navigating the Symphony of Sales

Imagine a scenario where each musician in an orchestra independently chooses the tune, pitch, or timing, neglecting the conductor’s directions. The result would undoubtedly be a chaotic cacophony rather than a mellifluous melody. The outcome is no different in a sales organization devoid of structured processes. There would be discord, confusion, and, ultimately, a waste of valuable resources, tarnishing the reputation of the organization. It’s crucial to set the stage with a meticulously designed Sales Process Flowchart, which acts as the conductor, harmonizing the orchestra of sales activities to create a seamless and pleasant experience for both the sales team and the clients.

More Than Just a Visual Representation

One might argue that a flowchart is simply a visual representation—useful but not essential. However, this understates its pivotal role in an organization. A Sales Process Flowchart serves as a multi-faceted instrument, similar to a map charting the course of a river from its source to the ocean. By meticulously documenting each bend, stream, and tributary, one gains understanding and control over its flow. Such a flowchart aids in:

  • Standardization: By laying out a common framework, the flowchart minimizes ambiguities, ensuring that all team members are aligned in their objectives and strategies.
  • Efficiency: When every stage and step is defined, sales representatives can navigate the selling process faster and with more agility, thereby accelerating the sales cycle.
  • Training and Onboarding: For newcomers to the team, the flowchart acts as a quick reference guide, enabling a quicker path to becoming a productive member of the sales force.

Crafting the Masterpiece: Methodological Precision

The development of a Sales Process Flowchart is neither arbitrary nor superficial; it is a blend of art and science. The task begins with identifying key stages in your sales process, such as lead generation, qualification, and closing deals. Each stage must be broken down into actionable components like a skilled craftsman chiseling away at a block of marble to reveal the sculpture within.

Next, these stages are sequenced in a way that makes logical sense. While the sales process can sometimes be iterative, a primary, repeatable pathway is essential for the sake of uniformity. Feedback mechanisms are integrated at crucial junctures to glean insights for continuous improvement. Remember, the flowchart isn’t a static document; it’s a dynamic blueprint that should evolve with market trends, customer preferences, and organizational changes.

The Endgame: Achieving Clarity and Consistency

The ultimate goal of implementing a Sales Process Flowchart is achieving clarity and ensuring consistency. In an age where most buying experiences are shaped by how customers feel they are being treated, consistency is not merely a bonus—it’s a requirement. The flowchart levels the playing field, ensuring that each customer experiences the same quality of service, irrespective of the sales representative they interact with.

Additionally, for the sales team, the benefit is immense. When the fog of ambiguity is lifted, sales professionals can execute their tasks with a well-defined sense of direction, equipped with measurable benchmarks and a clear vision.

Key Takeaways

For sales leaders aiming to elevate their teams to new heights, neglecting the role of a Sales Process Flowchart is not an option. This tool is instrumental in transforming sales strategies into actionable steps, thereby setting the stage for success. Ask yourself, does your organization have a Sales Process Flowchart? If not, it’s time to draw the blueprint for a harmonious, efficient, and wildly successful sales symphony.

Two of Spades: Understanding your client’s business: Identifying Key Decision Makers: Know who holds influence to target presentations and pitches effectively.

Two of Spades: Understanding your client’s business: Identifying Key Decision Makers: Know who holds influence to target presentations and pitches effectively.

Precision in Sales: Identifying Key Decision Makers

Navigating the labyrinth of modern sales requires more than just a sharp understanding of your product. It requires clarity about your audience – the pivotal decision-makers who shape the trajectory of business deals. Drawing an analogy, consider a seasoned archer. The archer’s prowess is not merely in the pull of the bow but in the precision with which he identifies and hits the target. For those vested in sales, this target comprises the key decision-makers within a prospective client’s organization.

To lay the foundation, it’s essential to grasp that today’s corporations are not simplistic entities with a lone decision-making authority. I spend time explaining this in my book Eliminate Your Competition and in the blog posts supporting that book. Picture modern corporations as sprawling metropolises. Yes, there’s a mayor, but a host of other influencers – the business tycoons, policy advisors, and community leaders – each plays a part. Translating this to a corporate setting, beyond the towering presence of the CEO are the department heads, procurement officers, and sometimes, external consultants who play a role in decision-making. A revealing statistic notes that in many large corporations, the buying decision isn’t just the purview of one but a collective of 7-8 individuals, each bringing their perspective to the table.

Dive deeper into the implications of this. Operating blindfolded, with a broad target group of 100 potential influencers in the prospective corporation, your chances of engaging the right decision-makers is a mere 7-8%. However, with precise identification, you amplify your engagement effectiveness to over 90%. The magnitude of this difference in approach isn’t just quantitative but profoundly qualitative, influencing the trajectory of the sales process.

But the path to this precision is laden with challenges. Today’s organizations are evolving, with flatter hierarchies and collaborative decision-making. Unlike earlier times, the decision-making power is not solely with the top-tier executives; influence has become democratized. Though not wearing any significant title, stealth influencers can sometimes significantly steer decisions.

So, how does one maneuver through this intricate maze? The key lies in a blend of practical action and analytical discernment:

  • Industry-Specific Acumen: Every industry has its unique structural DNA. Understand this. The decision-making dynamics in a budding tech startup differ vastly from a century-old manufacturing giant.
  • Relationship Building: Frontline managers and executives, often overlooked, are reservoirs of insights. Their vantage point provides a clearer picture of the organization’s internal decision-making landscape.
  • Digital Platforms: Tools like LinkedIn are not just professional networking platforms but a goldmine for insights. Here, you can go beyond official titles and delve into an individual’s influence, judging by their professional endorsements, content shared, and network strength.
  • Networking at Industry Events: Beyond product showcases, industry events serve as platforms to understand the industry’s influencers.
  • Direct Queries: In your interactions, never hesitate to ask, “Who are the other decision stakeholders?” This showcases your earnestness and intention to cater to all relevant influencers. It is also worthwhile to ask, “The last time you bought a product like mine, can you describe how that decision-making process worked and who was involved?”

Using a tool like the Power Matrix, which I explain in great detail in my book, Eliminate Your Competiton, is worthwhile. The Power Matrix is an excellent tool for understanding the organization. I promise that if you can successfully fill out the Power Matrix in every account, you will be phenomenally successful.

Armed with this understanding, the sales strategy transforms. Recognizing that each decision-maker brings a unique perspective, sales pitches can be tailored. The concerns of a CFO would differ from those of a CTO. Precision targeting ensures your sales narrative addresses these nuances, elevating the pitch from a generic presentation to a tailored engagement.

For CEOs and sales professionals attuned to this discourse, the path to success in sales is akin to a symphony. Each note, each pause, and each crescendo is intentional. By understanding who pulls the strings in decision-making, you elevate your position. Your transition from being just another vendor to a strategic partner who doesn’t just aim to sell but aims to resonate. It’s about precision. It’s about forming lasting relationships. It’s about being in sync with the orchestra of decision-makers, ensuring your notes are pitch-perfect every single time.

You may purchase my book Eliminate Your Competition from your favorite book retailer. The ebook version is available at the most popular retailers, such as Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble. The paperback version is also widely available at retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books A Million.

Champions & Coaches: Understanding Key Players in Your B2B Sales Strategy

Champions & Coaches: Understanding Key Players in Your B2B Sales Strategy

In the intricate and often unpredictable world of B2B sales, two terms frequently arise: “Champions” and “Coaches.” While somewhat similar, these labels correspond to entirely distinct roles in the sales process. Each plays a vital part, yet misinterpreting or misusing these roles can lead to the loss of your sales opportunity. Many experts believe that believing you have a Champion when you only have a Coach is the biggest problem in long-running sales campaigns.

This article aims to delve deeper into the specific role of the Champion, introduce an innovative strategy known as “Champion Chess,” and illustrate how these elements can transform your B2B sales approach for the better.

Coaches and Champions are both part of the Opportunity Qualification system known as MEDDPICCC. MEDDPICCC stands for

  • M – Metrics
  • E – Economic Buyer
  • D – Decision Criteria
  • D – Decision Process
  • P – Paperwork Process
  • I – Identification of Goal
  • C – Coach
  • C – Champion
  • C – Competition

Deep Dive into the Role of Champions

In the sales universe, a Champion isn’t merely a supporter of your business or service; they actively advocate for your product or service within their organization. Champions usually occupy a strategic position within their company, influencing decision-making processes that can make or break your sales success.

The power of a Champion in the sales process is remarkable. They can effectively expedite sales cycles by persuading their organization of your product’s value, thus overcoming internal objections and resistance. Their advocacy of your solution goes beyond the superficial – they believe in your product’s merit and fight for its adoption and success within their organization. These qualities make Champions an invaluable asset and integral to any successful B2B sales strategy.

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Influence and Advocacy in Sales: The Impact of Coaches and Champions

Influence and Advocacy in Sales: The Impact of Coaches and Champions

Every successful sales process relies on a deep understanding of the many moving parts within the targeted organization. Key among these are the internal influencers who can significantly shape the trajectory of your sales campaign. In the realm of sales, two roles stand out: ‘Coaches’ and ‘Champions.’ Both can impact your process differently, so a firm grasp on who they are, what they do, and how to engage with them can be pivotal for your sales success.

MEDDPICCC is an evolution of the MEDDIC sales qualification methodology that’s proven to be particularly effective for B2B enterprise sales organizations. At its core, the MEDDPICCC methodology aids organizations in ensuring they are working on the right deals and concentrating their efforts effectively to secure wins​.

MEDDPICCC extends the MEDDIC acronym to include an additional ‘P’ for Paper Process, ‘C’ for Competition, and ‘C’ for Coach. The inclusion of the ‘Paper Process’ reflects the increased complexity in technology purchasing compared to the past. Factors such as the shift from perpetual licenses to subscription agreements and enhanced data security and privacy requirements have intensified the contractual obligations between vendor and customer. Consequently, the ‘Paper Process’ has emerged as a significant factor influencing sellers’ forecasts, warranting its inclusion in the methodology​.

The second addition, ‘Competition,’ acknowledges the intensified competitive landscape in the current era. Competition can come from various sources: new companies emerging rapidly with the help of modern technology, other vendors vying for the same budget and resources, potential in-house solutions, or the choice to maintain the status quo. Understanding and navigating these competitive elements are critical to a seller’s forecast accuracy and deal success, thus necessitating the inclusion of ‘Competition’ in MEDDPICC​C​.

The third addition to MEDDPICCC is ‘Coach,’ and it is added to understand that there are frequently those people in an organization that will give you knowledge and advice about the sales opportunity, but they do not rise to the level of a Champion. One of the biggest mistakes a salesperson can make is confusing a Coach with a Champion. They may be your advocate and are pushing your product or service to other influencers in the account, but don’t let that confuse you. Without true power and the ability to sway the final decision with the Economic Buyer, you merely have an influencer. Let’s make no mistake; a Coach is also very important in a deal. They are a “guide” that you typically have more access to and can generate imperative touchpoints that help keep the deal moving forward.

In essence, MEDDPICCC is a comprehensive, strategic framework that equips sales teams with the necessary tools and insights to identify and pursue the most promising opportunities effectively, navigate the intricate contractual landscape, and outperform the competition. By adopting and mastering the MEDDPICCC methodology, less experienced salespeople can enhance their sales performance and contribute significantly to their organization’s success.

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Two Tall Guys Talking Sales Podcast – Understanding and Adapting to the Buyer’s Journey for Sales Success – Episode 33

Two Tall Guys Talking Sales Podcast – Understanding and Adapting to the Buyer’s Journey for Sales Success – Episode 33

In this thought-provoking podcast, hosts Kevin Lawson and Sean O’Shaughnessey dive into the challenges salespeople face when their sales process doesn’t align with the buyer’s journey. Using the example of a beer industry manufacturer, they explore the difficulties encountered when dealing with prospects who are only interested in the price and user count and how this can lead to feeling like a commodity. This insightful discussion underscores the importance of adapting to the buyer’s journey to sell more effectively.

As the conversation continues, Sean and Kevin emphasize the need to understand the buyer’s process, from recognizing the signs of a good prospect to determining the right time to buy. They highlight the importance of asking the right questions, listening to the buyer, and identifying their current position in the evaluation process. The hosts also discuss the concept of commercial teaching, which involves meeting prospects at their level of knowledge about the industry, solution, or product.

In addition, the duo addresses the challenge of long sales cycles and the factors that contribute to them, such as not understanding where the buyer is in their journey or not setting up for success earlier in the sales process. They encourage salespeople to be self-reflective and analyze their pipelines, identifying deals that may be stuck or taking longer than expected due to a lack of alignment with the buyer’s journey.

Furthermore, Kevin and Sean touch upon the importance of knowing the buyer persona, recognizing that different people within an organization have different perspectives and needs. By understanding the type of person you’re speaking with, salespeople can connect more quickly and effectively.

The podcast concludes with a challenge for salespeople to be introspective and consider how they can better align their sales process with the buyer’s journey for improved results.