September Newsletter

September Newsletter

The McDonald’s Lesson: Why a Diverse Sales Team Matters for Small Businesses

The McDonald’s Lesson: Why a Diverse Sales Team Matters for Small Businesses

In the annals of American business history, few stories are as captivating as the rise of McDonald’s, immortalized in the 2016 biographical drama film “The Founder.” The story of Ray Kroc, a struggling milkshake machine salesman who transformed a local drive-in into a global fast-food empire, is a classic tale of ambition, innovation, and, controversially, ruthless business acumen.

However, behind the gripping narrative lies a valuable lesson for small businesses today. The McDonald brothers, Richard and Maurice, were entrepreneurs who envisioned a revolutionary fast-food system. Their only significant flaw? They relied heavily on a single salesperson – Ray Kroc – to sell their franchise concept. This dependency proved to be their Achilles’ heel and resulted in them losing control over their brand.

The McDonald brothers had an excellent product and a promising business model. But the near-total reliance on Kroc as their sole franchise salesperson left them vulnerable. When Kroc’s ambition overstepped the boundaries they were comfortable with, they had no alternative but to endure the adverse outcomes, including the eventual loss of their company.

Small businesses must take this lesson to heart in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape. A diverse sales team is no longer a luxury; it’s a necessity. Here’s why:

Control the Message: The Power of Diversity Over Singularity

In the evolving business landscape, the brand message is one of the most pivotal components for success. It is the heartbeat of your organization, resonating with the values, goals, and ethos your company embodies. Yet, when this message is funneled through a singular voice, it often becomes vulnerable to unintentional distortions and personal biases. Imagine an intricate musical piece being played only on one instrument – while it may still carry the tune, it misses the richness and depth that a full orchestra brings.

With a sole salesperson at the helm, there’s a heightened risk of this narrative skew. Their personal experiences, perspectives, or unique communication styles can inadvertently overshadow or drift from the brand’s foundational message. This is not to question the competence or intentions of the salesperson but to understand human nature. We all carry our filters and interpret things based on our lenses. In contrast, a diverse sales team acts as a safeguard. When guided by a unified strategy, multiple voices can reinforce the brand’s core message, iron out anomalies, and present a more rounded, authentic narrative to potential clients.

Moreover, by diversifying the conveyors of your brand message, you’re preserving its integrity and broadening its reach. Different salespeople can resonate differently with a varied clientele, ensuring your brand message is consistent and universally relatable. It’s about striking a balance between consistency and versatility, and in the intricate dance of sales, this balance can make all the difference.

Reduced Dependency: Spreading the Net Wide for Steady Growth

The tale of the McDonald brothers provides a cautionary narrative about the perils of leaning heavily on a singular entity for business advancement. While it seems convenient and efficient in the short term to place the onus of sales on one high-performing individual, this structure is fraught with risks. Over-reliance on a single salesperson can be likened to building a house on a singular pillar – while it might hold for a while, a single crack can bring the entire edifice crashing down.

A broad and diversified sales team acts as a buffer against such risks. Each member brings their strengths to the table, ensuring that the entire operation doesn’t come to a standstill if one cog in the machinery malfunctions. Whether it’s due to changing personal interests, unforeseen circumstances, or the natural evolution of a career, key players might exit the stage at some point. In such scenarios, a well-rounded sales team ensures that the business doesn’t just survive but thrives, adjusting and recalibrating with minimal disruptions.

Furthermore, reduced dependency on a single individual promotes collective growth and shared responsibility. It fosters an environment where team members motivate one another, learn from each other’s successes and setbacks, and drive the business forward as a united front. The lesson is clear: while individual brilliance is always welcome, the future of sustainable growth lies in collective strength and diversity.

Expanded Reach: The Power of Diversity in Scaling New Heights

A homogenous approach can stymie growth in a small company with a single salesperson. Imagine walking into a room where everyone thinks the same, has had the same experiences, and shares the same network. While there might be a comforting familiarity, the scope for fresh insights is limited. Enter a diverse sales team, a veritable melting pot of backgrounds, experiences, and worldviews. The breadth of knowledge and understanding they bring to the table allows businesses to see beyond the obvious and tap into uncharted territories.

Each member of a diverse sales team carries a unique professional, personal history, and distinct network. These networks, spanning various sectors, regions, and demographics, are like numerous doors waiting to be opened. A multicultural salesperson might provide insights into the buying behaviors of a particular community, while someone from a different industry background might spot parallels and opportunities overlooked by others. The cumulative effect is a richer, more nuanced understanding of a broad spectrum of potential clients, leading to more inclusive marketing strategies and products that cater to a broader audience.

Embracing such diversity isn’t just about ticking a box; it’s a strategic move. In a world where businesses vie for every inch of customer attention, a diverse sales team can be the very edge that sets a company apart, enabling it to resonate with a broader audience and ensuring that its message isn’t just heard but truly understood and embraced.

Increased Innovation: The Spark of Diverse Minds

Like any other sector, the world of sales thrives on fresh perspectives and new ideas. When sales teams resemble an echo chamber, echoing the same strategies and views, stagnation is inevitable. However, a diverse group of salespeople, each hailing from varied experiences and backgrounds, becomes a cauldron of creativity. Every pitch, every strategy, and every solution they discuss is a culmination of their unique journeys, a blend of traditional wisdom and avant-garde ideas.

Consider a brainstorming session where a salesperson with a background in tech suggests leveraging a new tool. At the same time, another with experience in the arts offers a storytelling approach. Fusing these distinct perspectives can lead to a groundbreaking strategy that neither could have conceived alone. Such diversity acts as the lifeblood of innovation, pushing boundaries and constantly redefining what’s possible. It instigates challenges to the “that’s how we’ve always done it” mindset, compelling teams to iterate, refine, and reinvent.

Moreover, in a landscape where competition is rife, the companies that stand out are unafraid to think differently, to tread unexplored paths. A diverse sales team becomes an organization’s compass in such scenarios, pointing toward opportunities for innovation, ensuring that the business meets its sales targets and pioneers change, and setting benchmarks for others to follow.

The story of the McDonald brothers and Ray Kroc dramatized in “The Founder,” offers an invaluable business lesson. While having an innovative product and a robust business model is essential, having a diverse sales team that can control your brand message, reduce dependency, expand your market reach, and fuel innovation is equally crucial.

Small businesses today must avoid the McDonald brothers’ error of over-reliance on a single salesperson. By investing in a diverse and well-rounded sales team, companies can ensure sustainable growth and maintain control over their brand’s destiny.

In the early stages of a business, budgetary constraints can make it challenging to expand an in-house sales team, even when the glaring perils of relying on a lone salesperson become evident. But, in our interconnected age, physical presence and full-time employment are just some of the means to tap into top-tier talent. Outsourcing has emerged as a powerful strategy to bolster a salesforce without unduly straining the finances.

Outsourced salespeople or fractional sales professionals offer a compelling solution. These are seasoned veterans, adept at navigating the intricacies of the sales realm, who can be brought on board for specific campaigns or durations. Their expertise ensures businesses benefit from their wealth of experience without committing to long-term overheads. Similarly, companies specializing in business-development representation can be goldmines for startups and SMEs. They can rapidly amplify a company’s outreach, bringing in leads and opening doors that an individual salesperson might need help to knock on. Leveraging such services, businesses can enjoy the advantages of a diversified team while maintaining a lean operational structure.

With Fractional Vice President’s of Sales, such as Sean O’Shaughnessey of New Sales Expert, it is possible to manage a diverse group of sellers that are not direct company employees. While a less experienced sales manager or the company owner may balk at this type of challenge, it perfectly aligns with Sean’s skills and expertise. Don’t let the lack of sales management expertise prevent the expansion of your company’s sales dreams.

The modern sales landscape offers various flexible solutions for companies eager to grow beyond a singular sales voice. Whether through fractional sales leadership, fractional sales roles, outsourced professionals, and dedicated BDR firms, businesses can craft a multi-dimensional sales strategy that combines the nimbleness of a small team with the expansive reach of a more significant force.

Crafting Tomorrow’s Sales Strategy with Lessons from the Past

The McDonald’s narrative, as described in the movie, “The Founder,” is a poignant reminder of the intricate dynamics between innovation, ambition, and brand representation. While the ambition to grow is innate in every business, the path to achieving this growth can significantly shape its future. As we stand on the precipice of a rapidly changing global market, with opportunities and challenges alike, businesses must pivot towards a more inclusive and diversified sales strategy. Embracing diversity, harnessing the power of collective networks, and leveraging innovative outsourcing solutions are not mere options—they’re necessities. Small businesses, in particular, have an exciting chance to rewrite their sales script, infusing it with the vigor of varied voices and expertise. The journey from a local idea to a global empire is fraught with decisions; ensuring that these decisions are made through a diverse prism can be the defining factor between mere survival and unparalleled success. Let the lessons from the past illuminate the road ahead, reminding us that in diversity lies immense strength and phenomenal potential.

Leadership Styles Differ Based on the Situation: Sales Growth vs. Sales Recovery 

Leadership Styles Differ Based on the Situation: Sales Growth vs. Sales Recovery 

By Sean O’Shaughnessey & Kevin Lawson

As B2B-focused businesses navigate the ever-changing landscape of a post-COVID economy, sales leaders must adopt and institute strategies to meet the demands of a business in growth or recovery mode. 

While the goal for a sales organization may be to sustain the growth trajectory aligned with organizational goals, the year-over-year approach to achieving success can vary significantly. Sales leadership styles depend on the current situation, the starting point, and the existing team charged to accomplish the goal. Good sales leaders find a way to achieve the annual goal; great sales leaders find ways to achieve the goal and systemize the process to allow for repeatable growth, pivots, and rapid scale.      

Growth Focused Leadership

Sales leaders focused on growth must proactively identify new market opportunities, verticals, geographies, platforms, or sales talent. They must invest in new sales channels and technologies, along with onboarding and training programs to support the growth of their sales teams and the acquisition of new client relationships.

When sales teams are in a breakout stage of growth, it can be challenging to gain the discipline to systems and alignment on processes and approaches due to the nature of managing client expectations on a wildly rising revenue outlook. This situation demands that all of the skills of a sales leader be applied consistently and strategically across the team and sales practices.  

Seasoned leaders know that hiring for an increased workload and rapidly scaling teams can be tempting. However, this approach can often lead to problems down the line. Further, we must suppress the desire to hire quickly instead of exercising patience in finding the right candidate to continue to scale teams and culture appropriately. That patience means we must endure the short-term challenges of being under-resourced and under a great deal of pressure to keep performing as if we already had the resources on the team.  Instead, it is essential to focus on finding the right candidate who will not only be able to handle the current workload but also contribute to your team’s culture and help your organization achieve long-term success. Take the time to vet candidates carefully and consider not only their skills and experience but also their values and how they fit into your team’s dynamic. By prioritizing quality over speed, you’ll set your team up for success in the long run.

Another important consideration when building a team is to prioritize scalability. It’s easy to get caught up in your organization’s immediate needs and hire for the present moment, but it’s crucial to think about how your team will grow and evolve. Look for candidates with the potential to take on new responsibilities and leadership roles as your organization expands. Consider investing in training and professional development programs to help your team members acquire new skills and stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends. By prioritizing scalability, you’ll be better equipped to adapt to changing business needs and continue to achieve success over the long term.

Discipline to proven systems is essential for leadership and having transparent KPIs and organizational goal communications. The rigor and discipline of a sales leader in a growth cycle are particularly demanding. One primary concern for leaders in this mode is talent loss due to competitive pressures to grab your resources for their growth. It would help if you had experience and discipline for these growth moments.

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Two Tall Guys Talking Sales Podcast – The Power of Service: How Giving Back Can Drive Sales Success featuring Jim Hardwick, Chief Community Officer of Sales Xceleration – Episode 31

Two Tall Guys Talking Sales Podcast – The Power of Service: How Giving Back Can Drive Sales Success featuring Jim Hardwick, Chief Community Officer of Sales Xceleration – Episode 31

In this inspiring episode of “Two Tall Guys Talking Sales,” the hosts, Sean and Kevin, welcome Jim Hardwick, Chief Community Officer for Sales Xceleration and Fractional VP of Sales.

As a seasoned sales professional with 36 years of experience in healthcare, Jim shares his journey from climbing the corporate ladder to finding purpose and joy in his current role. He attributes his newfound happiness to a paradigm shift towards serving others, a realization sparked by a life-changing trip to Kenya, where he and his wife started a dental clinic.

Discussing the importance of servant leadership in building better sales organizations, Jim emphasizes the impact of serving clients, employees, and the community. He believes that when business owners and sales leaders focus on understanding and helping their employees achieve their goals and aspirations, the entire organization benefits. This approach creates a positive work environment that fosters employee loyalty and drives business growth.

Moreover, Jim stresses the significance of actively listening to employees, valuing their input, and being open to change. Servant leadership, according to Jim, extends beyond grand gestures; it encompasses small acts of kindness and attentiveness, creating a ripple effect that ultimately comes back to the giver tenfold.

In this engaging conversation, Jim Hardwick leaves the audience with the powerful message of giving freely without keeping score and embracing a mentality of service instead of taking. His uplifting stories and passion for serving others will surely inspire listeners to adopt a more intentional and compassionate approach in their personal and professional lives.

May Newsletter Featuring Information About Fractional Executives

May Newsletter Featuring Information About Fractional Executives

Fractional Executives Are Better Than Consultants For Driving Valuable Changes in Small Businesses

Fractional Executives Are Better Than Consultants For Driving Valuable Changes in Small Businesses

Change is inevitable, and small business owners must constantly adapt to stay ahead of their competition. While traditional consultants may offer valuable insights and recommendations, they often lack the hands-on commitment to implement these changes effectively. A consultant will write a report and presentation to advise management of required changes and then count on management to deploy the advice effectively. More than a report or playbook is usually needed to drive tangible results.

Enter the concept of a fractional executive. This innovative solution provides small businesses the strategic guidance and support they need to grow and evolve. In this blog post, we’ll explore the role of a fractional executive, discuss their benefits, and share tips for finding the right fit for your business.

A fractional executive is a seasoned professional who offers expertise and leadership on a part-time or project basis. These individuals often have extensive experience in their respective fields and can fill critical gaps in a company’s leadership team. From acting as a temporary CEO to guiding sales or financial strategies, fractional executives provide services tailored to your business’s unique needs.

The critical difference between a fractional executive and a traditional consultant lies in their level of commitment. While consultants often deliver a one-time report or set of recommendations, fractional executives are actively involved in the day-to-day operations of your business. They work closely with your team to implement changes, monitor progress, and adjust strategies as needed, ensuring that your business thrives in the long term.

Consultants can create beautiful reports using modern tools like Chat GPT. While a report generated by Chat GPT can provide valuable insights and recommendations for a business, it is crucial to recognize that such a report alone is insufficient to drive meaningful changes. To successfully implement and manage the recommended changes, businesses require a more hands-on and personalized approach that addresses their unique challenges and opportunities. A report can serve as an excellent starting point, but companies must invest in dedicated human expertise to ensure that the proposed changes are effectively integrated into their operations.

A Chat GPT report may be insufficient for driving change because it cannot fully account for the intricacies and nuances of each business. While AI-generated reports can be well-researched and informative, they may need a more profound understanding of company culture, team dynamics, and specific market conditions necessary to develop tailored strategies. On the other hand, a human expert can work closely with stakeholders, employees, and customers to gain a comprehensive understanding of the business’s unique needs and challenges, allowing them to develop and implement more effective change initiatives.

Additionally, change management requires ongoing support and guidance, which a Chat GPT report or an absentee consultant cannot provide. Implementing changes often involves overcoming obstacles, refining strategies, and addressing unforeseen issues that arise during the process. A human expert, such as a fractional executive, can provide the necessary support and adaptability to navigate these challenges and ensure the success of the change initiatives. By working closely with the business daily, they can monitor progress, identify areas for improvement, and make real-time adjustments to keep the change process on track.

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Fractional Executives: The Cost-Effective Solution for Small Businesses in Need of Expertise

Fractional Executives: The Cost-Effective Solution for Small Businesses in Need of Expertise

Fractional executives are experienced professionals who work part-time or on a project basis, providing expertise and guidance to help businesses achieve their goals. Often, small businesses need more resources and expertise, making it difficult for them to achieve growth and success. While hiring a full-time executive may not be feasible due to the costs involved, fractional executives can provide a cost-effective solution to this problem. 

A fractional executive differs from a consultant, but the difference may confuse some. Typically, a consultant will provide advice and guidance, but they are separate from your company. A fractional executive works alongside your team, helps in company operations, and is responsible for the outcomes of those operations. They are an extension of your existing leadership team. In most instances, a fractional executive provides all of the responsibilities to your company as a full-time executive.

Cost-effective Expertise

One of the most significant benefits of using fractional executives is cost savings compared to a full-time employee with a similar amount of experience. Hiring a full-time executive can be expensive. Fractional executives work on a part-time or project basis, meaning companies can save money by only paying for the services they need. Additionally, businesses can avoid the costs of recruiting, hiring, and training a full-time executive.

As explained in the FRACTIONALS UNITED BLOG, it is essential to explore the cost of an FTE (full-time employee) compensation plan compared to fractional monthly retainers. The data is eye-opening!

According to data gathered (March 2023) by Salary.com, the median (50th percentile) core compensation (salary+benefits*) for the following C-Suite leaders is as follows:

  • Chief Financial Officer (CFO)- $558,999 ($46,583/mo) + 22% bonus
  • Chief Operating Officer (COO)- $622,672 ($51,889/mo) + 23% bonus
  • Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)- $464,651 ($38,720/mo) + 25% bonus
  • Chief Revenue Officer (CRO)- $408,619 ($34,051/mo) + 12% bonus
  • Chief Technology Officer (CTO)- $387,001 ($32,250/mo) + 15% bonus
  • Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO)- $449,340 ($37,445/mo) + 25% bonus
  • Chief Talent Officer (CTAO)- $337,197 ($28,099/mo) + 20% bonus

Bonus comp and equity cash totals were excluded from this comparison since both are variable compensation, only sometimes guaranteed. The average percentage offered was noted instead.

The average monthly retainer for fractional executives starts at around $5,000 and goes upwards to $15,000 per month. Retainers vary depending on the experience, scope of work, and level of hourly commitment per month (i.e., 25%, 50%, or 75% commitment to the team/company). The retainer may be higher if the professional has more years of experience, is in high demand, or if the organization is in a large metropolitan area.

If we assume that any given fractional executive discipline is $10,000 per month, then:

  • Fractional CFO – 21% of an FTE
  • Fractional COO – 19% of an FTE
  • Fractional CMO – 26% of an FTE
  • Fractional CRO – 29% of an FTE
  • Fractional CTO – 31% of an FTE
  • Fractional CHRO – 27% of an FTE
  • Fractional CTAO – 26% of an FTE
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Two Tall Guys Talking Sales Podcast – Part 2 of Communicate Your Value Proposition to Win More Deals with Kelly Crandall of Sales Xceleration and Next Level Strategies – Episode 25

Two Tall Guys Talking Sales Podcast – Part 2 of Communicate Your Value Proposition to Win More Deals with Kelly Crandall of Sales Xceleration and Next Level Strategies – Episode 25

Kelly Crandall returns to Two Tall Guys Talking Sales for her second episode in two weeks. Kelly is an expert in sales after working in the corporate world, running a small business, providing Fractional Sales Leadership for her customers in Florida, and now is the Visionary for Sales Xceleration. 

This episode centers around building a strong value proposition and creating a sales strategy that resonates with customers. In this particular episode, the topic of discussion is the third area of the sales process and how it can help build trust with customers.

Kelly has agreed to stick around for the second episode, where she focuses on the validation needed to create trust.

A great sales strategy starts with answering the questions of why act and why act now. Then answer the question of why choose us. Then you need to validate that your product solves the problem so that you can have the conversation about trust (because #b2bsales is simply the transferring of the trust from the sales team to the prospect). The hosts and the guest emphasize the importance of covering all three areas to create a strong value proposition.

Kelly explains that proof is the key. Salespeople should be authentic, transparent, and empathetic while using data and statistics to support their claims. Testimonials, case studies, and stories help build trust with customers. The goal is to anticipate objections and provide proof in advance.

Salespeople transfer their trust in the product to the prospect. The hosts also explain that salespeople sell three things: the product, the company that makes the product, and themselves as salespeople. Building trust is an essential part of the selling process.

Validation events can be expensive for young companies. Owners should help get customer testimonials and create case studies to leverage for future sales pitches.

This podcast episode provides a comprehensive overview of creating trust and how it can help build customer revenue. Kelly emphasizes the importance of covering all three areas to create a strong value proposition. She provides practical tips on using proof to build trust and anticipate objections.

This podcast episode is a valuable resource for anyone looking to improve their sales strategy and build a stronger value proposition.

How Small Businesses Can Compete with Larger Competitors Using the Fragment Sales Strategy

How Small Businesses Can Compete with Larger Competitors Using the Fragment Sales Strategy

Small businesses often find themselves at a disadvantage when competing with larger, well-established companies. However, they can still succeed. It requires them to think creatively and strategically and to develop unique approaches to win customers over.

One approach small businesses can take is implementing the Fragment Sales Strategy. This approach is advantageous when small companies find themselves in David vs. Goliath-type sales campaigns, going up against larger competitors with more resources, references, and success stories.

Salespeople can increase their chances of success by focusing on specific areas where they can create value for the customer and differentiate themselves from the competition. The Fragment Sales Strategy is a methodology that breaks down the opportunity into smaller, more manageable pieces. This helps salespeople stay organized, identify key decision-makers, and manage essential milestones in the sales process.

Essentially, with a Fragment Strategy, salespeople are trying to change the opportunity to a smaller portion of the customer’s goals where they can be successful and convince the prospect to look at other needs in a future opportunity. A Fragment Strategy is essential if you want the prospect to adopt multiple “best-in-class” products, but the small business only offers a few of the “best-in-class” capabilities.

Understanding the goals of the customer is also crucial when implementing the Fragment Sales Strategy. Salespeople need to understand what the customer is trying to achieve and what challenges they face in reaching their goals. By focusing on specific goals and offering solutions that address those challenges, salespeople can increase the likelihood of a successful sale.

Small businesses can use five basic sales strategies to win more sales. These include Frontal, Flanking, Fragment, Defend, and Develop Strategies. The Frontal Strategy involves going head-to-head with the competition and trying to win over customers based on the product’s merits. Unfortunately, a salesperson for a small business can quickly lose with this strategy when competing against a larger competitor with more resources and, in theory, more successful implementations.

The Flanking Strategy is useful for a small business salesperson because it shifts the focus of the customer’s buying criteria to new or different issues that favor your solution. It means you are not playing by the rules. You are taking a completely different approach than your competitors expect. The challenge with a flanking strategy is that you need to understand the dynamics of the prospect completely. You must understand both personal and organizational needs. It can only be used in opportunities where the salesperson has an influential inside advisor (a Coach). Ultimately, the strategy needs a strong Champion. The strategy also requires you to have multiple value propositions that are relatively unique to your offering, which may not be available to the small business B2B salesperson.

The Defend Strategy focuses on keeping existing customers happy and preventing them from defecting to the competition. Of course, this strategy depends on the current relationship with the customer. It is only applicable if the prospect already has a business relationship with the small business.

Finally, the Develop Strategy involves identifying opportunities and developing products or services that meet customer needs. While this strategy allows the building of intense relationships, it can also be the most extended sales cycle, putting a small business at significant risk if the prospect doesn’t move forward after a long development process.

Small businesses implementing the Fragment Sales Strategy should focus on understanding their customers’ goals, identifying pain points, and offering solutions to those challenges. By breaking down the sales process into smaller, more manageable pieces, salespeople can focus on areas where they can create value for the customer and differentiate themselves from the competition.

Some questions that a salesperson might ask the prospect could be:

  1. What are your short-term and long-term business goals? For several reasons, asking a prospect about their short-term and long-term business goals is an essential part of the sales process for the salesperson of a small business. Firstly, it enables the salesperson to understand the customer’s specific needs and requirements, which helps them tailor their sales pitch and offer the best solution possible. Secondly, it allows the salesperson to identify opportunities for upselling or cross-selling by offering additional products or services that can help the customer achieve their goals. Thirdly, it helps the salesperson build a relationship with the customer by showing a genuine interest in their business and demonstrating how their product or service can help them achieve their objectives. Overall, asking this question can help the salesperson position themselves as a trusted advisor and increase their chances of closing the sale.
  2. What challenges are you currently facing in your business? – A salesperson would need to ask a prospect about the challenges they are currently facing in their business to gain a deeper understanding of their pain points and business needs. By asking this question, the salesperson can identify specific problems that the prospect is looking to solve and then position their product or service as a solution. Understanding the challenges also enables the salesperson to demonstrate their expertise and industry knowledge by providing insights and advice on how the prospect can overcome their obstacles. Additionally, asking about challenges shows the prospect that the salesperson is interested in their business and is committed to finding a solution that will address their specific needs, which can help build trust and a stronger relationship.
  3. What specific problems are you trying to solve with this purchase? – A business-to-business salesperson would need to ask a prospect about the specific problems they are trying to solve with their purchase to identify how their product or service can help the prospect achieve their goals. This question helps the salesperson understand the prospect’s needs, challenges, and requirements in-depth, allowing them to tailor their sales pitch accordingly. It also enables the salesperson to offer a customized solution that addresses the prospect’s unique problems and requirements, making the product or service more valuable to the prospect. Asking about specific problems also helps the salesperson build a stronger relationship with the prospect by showing that they are interested in helping them achieve their objectives rather than just making a sale. Ultimately, understanding the specific problems the prospect is trying to solve will help the salesperson close more deals and establish themselves as a trusted advisor in the eyes of the prospect.
  4. How does this purchase fit into your overall business strategy? – A business-to-business salesperson working for a small business would need to ask a prospect how their purchase fits into their overall business strategy to understand the prospect’s long-term goals and position their product or service as a strategic solution. This question helps the salesperson identify whether their product or service aligns with the prospect’s broader objectives, allowing them to position it as an investment rather than just a purchase. Understanding the prospect’s overall business strategy also enables the salesperson to identify opportunities for cross-selling and upselling by demonstrating how additional products or services can help the prospect achieve their long-term goals. Additionally, asking about the business strategy helps the salesperson build credibility by showing that they are interested in the prospect’s broader objectives and are committed to assisting them to achieve success. Ultimately, understanding how the purchase fits into the prospect’s overall business strategy can help the salesperson close more deals and build long-term relationships with their clients.
  5. What are the key drivers of success for your business? – A salesperson working for a small business and selling to another business would need to ask a prospect about the critical drivers of success for their business to understand their priorities and position their product or service as a strategic solution. This question helps the salesperson identify the specific factors most important to the prospect’s business, allowing them to tailor their sales pitch to those critical drivers of success. By understanding the key drivers of success, the salesperson can also demonstrate their industry knowledge and expertise by providing insights and advice on achieving success in those areas. Additionally, asking about the key drivers of success shows the prospect that the salesperson is interested in their business and is committed to finding a solution to help them achieve their objectives. Ultimately, understanding the key drivers of success for the prospect’s business will help the salesperson close more deals and establish themselves as a trusted advisor in the eyes of the prospect.
  6. What are your top priorities right now? – A salesperson needs to ask a prospect about their top priorities right now to understand their immediate needs and to position their product or service as a priority solution. This question helps the business-to-business salesperson working for a small business identify which specific pain points the prospect is currently focused on, allowing them to tailor their sales pitch accordingly. By understanding the prospect’s top priorities, the salesperson can position their product or service as a must-have solution, helping the prospect achieve their most critical objectives. Additionally, asking about the prospect’s top priorities shows that the salesperson is interested in understanding their specific needs and requirements and is committed to helping them succeed. Ultimately, understanding the prospect’s top priorities will help the salesperson close more deals and build long-term relationships with their clients.
  7. What metrics do you use to measure the success of your business, and what metrics do you need to accomplish for this project and purchase? – Every salesperson needs to know the metrics for success for the product they are trying to sell. A small business salesperson would need to ask a prospect about the metrics they use to measure the success of their business and what metrics they need to accomplish for a specific project and purchase to understand the prospect’s goals and to position their product or service as a strategic solution. This question helps the salesperson identify the metrics most important to the prospect, allowing them to demonstrate how their product can help the prospect achieve their specific goals. Understanding the metrics also enables the salesperson to demonstrate their industry knowledge and expertise by providing insights and advice on how the prospect can measure their success more effectively. Additionally, asking about metrics shows the prospect that the salesperson is interested in their business and is committed to finding a solution that will help them achieve their objectives. Ultimately, understanding the metrics that are important to the prospect will help the salesperson close more deals and establish themselves as a trusted advisor in the eyes of the prospect.
  8. What are the biggest obstacles preventing you from achieving your goals? – A business-to-business salesperson working for a small business would need to ask a prospect about the most significant obstacles preventing them from achieving their goals to understand their pain points and position their product or service as a solution. This question helps the salesperson identify specific challenges that the prospect is facing, allowing them to offer a customized solution that addresses the prospect’s unique needs. By understanding the prospect’s biggest obstacles, the salesperson can also demonstrate their industry knowledge and expertise by providing insights and advice on overcoming them. Additionally, asking about the obstacles shows the prospect that the salesperson is interested in their business and committed to finding a solution to help them overcome their challenges. Ultimately, understanding the prospect’s most significant obstacles will help the salesperson close more deals and establish themselves as a trusted advisor in the eyes of the prospect.
  9. What impact would achieving these goals have on your business? – Since a small business salesperson is always concerned about wasting their time on an opportunity that will not close, asking a prospect about the impact of achieving their goals on their business to understand the prospect’s motivations and to position their product or service as a strategic solution. This question helps the salesperson identify the specific benefits the prospect is looking to achieve, allowing them to tailor their sales pitch to those particular outcomes. By understanding the impact of achieving the goals, the salesperson can also demonstrate the value proposition of their product or service and show how it can help the prospect realize their objectives. Additionally, asking about the impact of achieving the goals shows the prospect that the salesperson is interested in understanding their business and is committed to finding a solution to help them achieve their desired outcomes. Ultimately, understanding the impact of achieving the goals will help the salesperson close more deals and establish themselves as a trusted advisor in the eyes of the prospect.
  10. How does your purchase decision fit into the larger picture of your business? – This question also helps a business-to-business salesperson working for a small business clarify the priority of working on a project that turns into a successful order. The salesperson should always ask a prospect how their purchase decision fits into the larger picture of their business to understand the prospect’s strategic goals and to position their product or service as a critical component of their business strategy. This question helps the salesperson identify the prospect’s overall business strategy and the specific role their product or service plays in achieving that strategy. By understanding how the purchase decision fits into the larger picture of the business, the salesperson can demonstrate the value of their product or service as a strategic investment that supports the prospect’s overall objectives. Additionally, asking about the larger picture shows the prospect that the salesperson is interested in a deeper understanding and is committed to finding a solution that aligns with their strategic goals. Ultimately, understanding how the purchase decision fits into the larger picture of the business will help the salesperson close more deals and establish themselves as a trusted partner in the eyes of the prospect.

The salesperson should tailor the above questions to the information the salesperson already knows about the prospect’s business. However, every salesperson should understand these high-level questions and try to align their product to them.

Small businesses can compete against larger, well-established companies by developing unique approaches and implementing effective strategies like the Fragment Sales Strategy. By understanding the goals of the customer and breaking down the sales process into smaller, more manageable pieces, salespeople can increase their chances of success and win more sales.

Header Photo by Philipp Trubchenko on Unsplash
95% of Companies Ranked Themselves Below Average or Worse

95% of Companies Ranked Themselves Below Average or Worse

Market share is an excellent indicator of the overall health of an industry. It can give valuable insight into the performance of other competitors in the same field. Still, it should not limit your approach to your sales strategy.

In fact, the opposite is more accurate, as the world is your oyster if your market share is minuscule.

As salespeople, we must remember that even if our market penetration is small, it’s still possible to make a significant impact. The broader economy cannot affect us enough to make a difference in selling our product or service. Instead, focus on what you can control:

  • building relationships with customers and 
  • honing sales practices

The Power of Relationships

Building long-term customer relationships will ensure success no matter how big or small your market share may be. And as customer needs evolve, they will come back to you when they need help making decisions related to your industry and product. You can quickly become an invaluable part of their buying process by establishing yourself as a reliable resource for honest advice and guidance.

Fine-Tuning Your Practices

In addition to focusing on customer relationships, another way to maximize success regardless of market size is by fine-tuning your sales practices. This means looking hard at whom you’re targeting, what strategies are working best for closing deals with those prospects, and what areas need improvement to reach more people within your target market.

It also means analyzing processes such as lead scoring and qualification criteria to understand which leads will most likely convert into paying customers. Finally, take some time each quarter or year (or whatever works best for you) to review metrics such as conversion rates and average deal sizes so that you can identify trends over time and adjust accordingly if needed.

It would be best if you were quite critical of your confidence that your sales team and company are executing their revenue generation capabilities well. A recent study by Sales Xceleration® shows that 95% of companies ranked themselves below average or worse. In fact, the last research saw that 4% more companies rated themselves as Poor. You can learn more about this study (and how to avoid the worst pitfalls) by attending a Special CEO Workshop by Kevin Lawson and me on March 1, 2023. (https://lnkd.in/e6gtbDd5)

When it comes down to it, market share numbers should never be used as an excuse when determining whether or not it’s worth pursuing a specific segment or area within the industry – instead, focus on what matters most: improving customer relationships and honing sales practices to maximize success regardless of size or scope. By taking advantage of these two powerful tools – relationships and processes – any salesperson can be successful no matter how small their piece of the pie may be!