METHODOLOGY? SALES PROCESS? ARE THEY THE SAME, OR HOW ARE THEY DIFFERENT?

Value Added MethodologiesMethodology? Sales Process? Are they the same, or how are they different?

A Sales Process is the steps and stages of working through engagement with a prospect to turn them into a customer (or qualify them out so as to not waste time), a Sales Methodology has the tactics to effectively and efficiently move through that Process.

George Brontén wrote a great piece on Methodology versus Process, it’s absolutely worth reading.

As George opines, Process and Methodology are intimately related, co-dependent for success and ultimately blended together. A great (and timely) example comes from AppDynamics. Founder Jyoti Bansal writes about The Science of Enterprise Software Sales. While Jyoti’s #4 is titled “The Sales Process”, AppDynamics actually had an effective blend of Methodology and Process. Case in point, Jyoti talks about “justifying the technology/business case for your solution” and describes the rigorous application of “Business Value Assessments” to do so. BVA’s are part of a Methodology, a tactic, to drive through the Process.

My personal opinion? For “complex B2B sales” a BVA should be a stage in your Sales Process in addition to being a tactic in your Methodology. Why? If buyers do not spend money without business value, why would sellers not articulate their value??? It doesn’t have to be ultra-complicated and expensive like AppDynamics. We have customers doing that and more. We also have customers with an ASP of $12K. See Next Generation ROITM for more.

I would dare say the BVA tactic is one of the most important elements of an effective Methodology that makes the Sales Process work. There are lots of proof points, the multiple AppDynamics received is a great one.  DecisionLink.com

Unfortunately, B2B buyers say they get this support from sellers a small fraction of the time.

If you want your Methodology to work, for your Sales Process to be successful, make sure you
have a world-class capability to produce Business Value Assessments, and that BVAs are an
integral part of your Methodology/Process. It’ll be the best ROI you’ll ever achieve.

 

 


 

“We need a Return on Investment analysis to get our deal done.”

Nxt Generation ROI“We need a Return on Investment analysis to get our deal done.”

On the first post in this series, we premised a definition for Next Generation ROITM:

A Next Generation ROITM should communicate all facets of a seller’s value proposition, it should do so clearly and succinctly, it should involve all roles in the seller/buyer relationship, it should be available for every deal or opportunity, it should achieve scalability through automation and it should enable best practices as a matter of course.

So the first item to tackle is who? The definition says “all roles in the seller/buyer relationship”. And why not??? The one, and only, reason customers buy from sellers is to acquire some form of value. If that is the case, should anyone in the relationship not be a value practitioner? Especially the field sales team!!!

I’ve got a philosophical bent on this. The sales rep and sales support pros are the tip of the spear for selling organizations. Not only should we enable them, we should be obsessed in doing so. Unfortunately, the “ROI” conversation is too often relegated to a specialist group.

It’s no wonder that the top 15-20% of reps produce the lion’s share of the revenue. If we want to change that, we need to be obsessed about enabling the field sales team.

A favorite book of mine is Selling to the C-Suite available here. Rather than a book of sales anecdotes supporting a how to, it’s a survey of several hundred business executives, how they WANT to be sold to. The principles are common with Challenger Sale, Hypothesis selling, Provocative selling and on and on. You want high performance?   DecisionLink.comThis is the key and there is no question.

If your ROI capability doesn’t enable the sales team, then it’s not next generation and
that means leaving sales results, corporate results, empowered employees and satisfied
customers on the table.

I love baseball, and baseball metaphors are a real favorite. Even better when a buyer uses one.

Value Selling Success StoriesI love baseball, and baseball metaphors are a real favorite. Even better when a buyer uses one.

Our customer, one of three primary providers in their space, was competing in a project at a Fortune 500 company. Their function was originally slated for the 3rd stage of their prospect’s project, 6-9 months down the road. They engaged the prospect with the tactic of performing a Business Value Assessment to separate from their competitors and establish a sense of urgency with the prospect.

And the tactic worked. They beat their competition, and accelerated their deal.

That’s great, and that is what happens when you Quantify, Articulate, Competitively Differentiate and Defend the value proposition of your products, services and solutions.

But here’s the anecdote, and it’s great. After closing the deal, the sales rep was having dinner with his champion. A celebratory sort of deal where his customer told him:

“Y’ know, usually when we get to this stage with a new vendor and start negotiating, we throw a couple pitches in the dirt* and see if they’ll swing. But your value proposition was clear and compelling. Our CIO told us not to mess with you, to get the deal done and get it done now. I’ve never seen that happen before.”

So our customer beat the competition, got a 7-figure deal of almost 3x their ASP and moved the deal up by 2-3 quarters by establishing value and a sense of urgency. And the didn’t have to deal with pitches in the dirt.

DecisionLink.com

One more thing. The sales rep on the account, the tip of the spear, led the value conversation.

 

*  Yeah, I love baseball but was lousy at it. I was the guy who swung too often at the pitches in the dirt.

 

Supercharge Sales Effectiveness

Sales effectiveness is a favorite buzz-word for today’s B2B sales      
organizations. I looked at a chart recently of sales technologies,
methodologies and so forth, it looked like this.  Photo To Right Opens. 

Of course there is a whole different chart for “Inside Sales”, and don’t even go to the adjacent Marketing chart.

If you search for a while, you’ll see DecisionLink on the chart, one of hundreds of technologies available to clutter the landscape and hopefully impact sales productivity. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad we’re there along with several of our customers.

We all think we’re the end-all, panacea, stick that stirs the drink (with apologies to Reggie Jackson). We even used “silver bullet” in a recent messaging! Unfortunately, there’s a whole lot of capability expressed that is about bombarding buyers with more content faster while barely scratching the surface of “what’s in it for me”. “Me” being the buyer.   DecisionLink.com

In this series, we’re going to focus on getting personalized and specific with buyer value, and
how  doing so positively impacts virtually every other investment in sales enablement, sales effectiveness, sales whatever-you-want-to-call-it technologies.

We look forward to your input, feedback, critiques and more!

Sales Methodology Execution

Value Added MethodologiesThe Challenger Sale, Target Account Selling, Command of the Message, MEDDIC, Power Based Selling, The Complex Sale and more. The principles of these and other sales methodologies are the key to high performance selling, exceeding sales plans, beating the competition and customer satisfaction.

The last one is no mistake. At their core, sales methodologies expect an understanding of the customer or prospects needs, desires and objectives. When sellers understand and line up on what the customer cares about, customer satisfaction abounds.

Make no mistake, it takes a lot of acumen, discipline and skill to execute sales methodologies designed for complex B2B selling. I’ve always said sales is a noble profession requiring significant skill to achieve the pinnacle of success. There’s no doubt.

DecisionLink.com

So this series will be about sales methodologies, execution, best practices and more.   From sellers and customers alike. We look forward to sharing and growing together.

Read more about Value Added Methodologies in our continuing series

 


 

WE NEED A RETURN ON INVESTMENT TO GET OUR DEAL DONE

Nxt Generation ROI“WE NEED A RETURN ON INVESTMENT TO GET OUR DEAL DONE”

How many times have we as sellers heard this? Too often and the situation often results in a frantic fire-drill. AND, when we don’t have a ROI, no-decision losses, competitive losses, deal slippage out of the month or quarter, excessive discounts and more.

Perhaps “maddening” is having (or not having) a rational definition for a ROI. So this series will be about Next Generation ROI™. Not just what we mean by it, but what ought to be, what it should help accomplish, who ought to be empowered by it, when and where it should be available and how it should optimally be made available.

DecisionLink.comWe’ll even deal with the “why” because that’s broader, more important and more impactful that often thought. For today, we’ll suggest a definition for the B2B sales world, and welcome comments.

A Next Generation ROI™ should communicate all facets of a seller’s value proposition, it should do so clearly and succinctly, it should involve all roles in the seller/buyer relationship, it should be
available for every deal or opportunity, it should achieve scalability through automation and it
should enable best practices as a matter of course.

That’s not perfect, but it’s a start. And it’s closer than you may think.

Do You Sell Value? If Not, You Aren’t Aligned With Your Customer!

In the sales profession, we’ve talked about “selling value” and aligning with customer business outcomes for a long, long time. Yet despite massive investments in Sales Effectiveness, “selling value” remains the “long pole in the tent” for most B2B sales organizations.

Accordingly, to lead off this series of Customer Success Stories, it’s appropriate to say a few words about the very best way to create success stories. Communicating customer value.

Let’s stop talking about communicating value and actually do it.

DecisionLink.com

“18 months ago, the ability for sales to articulate value with customers and prospects was our #1 sales issue. We set upon a mission to fix that problem. We piloted DecisionLink Value Selling Automation™ and went live at the beginning of 2016. At the end of our first year, DecisionLink influenced a 20% increase in sales and articulating customer value dropped to the #23 issue for our sales organization. We now produce customer-aligned value propositions for virtually every opportunity. This is the best sales effectiveness project we’ve undertaken.”

Communicating value should be at the heart of everything we do in the customer journey. Automation makes that possible.