Too often, we seem to be wandering, aimlessly, in our understanding of what our jobs, as sellers, are. We have a notion that we are accountable for producing orders that drive revenue, enabling us to achieve our goals.
But how we do this is all over the place!
To many, too many, it’s only about prospecting. Fill our pipelines with qualified leads, and the numbers will work out–we’ll win some, lose some, but hopefully get enough to achieve our goals.
And when we seem to be falling short, we ramp up our efforts. “More,” always seems the solution to every sales woe.
Recently, I’ve been reading another trend, all we have to do is “create value.” Doing this, will earn us business from customers. When I ask what this means, the response is, “just create value….”
There are other notions, “help customers solve problems, help customers change….” and so forth.
Each of these strategies has some merit, but they seem to lack purpose and focus. And that’s where we go off course.
Being a high performing sales person requires a clear purpose, vicious focus, and disciplined execution.
Our job is to find/qualify a sufficient number of opportunities to achieve our sales goals! Period, stop, mic drop. It’s nothing more or less than that.
“But Dave, you’ve always talked about these concepts around value creation, sensemaking, and so forth. What’s up?”
Value creation, sensemaking, helping our customers buy, and all these things I get on soapboxes and write about are means through which we achieve our goals–not ends in themselves.
And that’s the problem with many of the things I outlined above, we treat them as ends, not means to achieve our goals.
Let’s walk through the thought process:
- Our job is to pursue and close enough opportunities to meet our revenue goals!
- We do this by focusing on the customers/prospects that are like to have the problems we are the best in the world at solving! Anyone else is a waste of our and their time! We prospect only in this space (our ICP), helping the customer understand there may be a better/different way of achieving their goals. We recognize this has little to do with what we sell, focusing more on helping the customer understand what they could achieve.
- We incite those customers/prospect to change, helping them to understand the costs/risks of doing nothing are greater than the cost/risks of change.
- We recognize none of this has anything to do with what we sell, it is all about the customer and the business problem.
- But we know that we have the solution to that problem, that we present when the customer is ready to look at solutions. Right now, their focus is on understanding the problem.
- We recognize that we have a “qualified” opportunity, when the customer has committed to making a change, they have identified a date when they need to have the change in place, and they have articulated the consequences of making that change.
- We work with those customers, helping them to identify the critical issues, people, process, goals they should be establishing for this project. We create value with these customers through our expertise and experience in working with others on similar issues. We create value through helping them better understand what they are trying to achieve and how they might achieve it.
- We work with them through their buying process, showing how our solutions help them achieve their goals. We focus on helping the customer make a decision on solving their problem, knowing that it’s only through this process, we are likely to get an order.
- Once they’ve made a decision, we work with them on achieving the goals they hoped to achieve through the implementation of our solution. But we continue not just focusing on their satisfaction, but finding other opportunities to help them change and improve. Afterall, we recognize a large part of our ability to create value was in helping them recognize the opportunity to change, grow, and more effectively achieve their goals.
- Separately, we make sure we are pursuing enough qualified opportunities to achieve our goals. We know our “numbers,” which drive our pipeline health and drive our prospecting activity.
- We continue to look at how we improve, both how we improve our engagement with customers, and, through this, how we improve our performance. We look at how we increase our win rates, average deal sizes, reduce sales cycles. We look at how we can increase our share of customer, by working with them to identify more improvement opportunities, helping them to continue to innovate. We know we are accountable for selling the entire product line, so we look for those opportunities. We know we are accountable for finding new customers, so we build that into our prospecting plan.
- We are jealous about our time, focusing first on maximizing our effectiveness, then on our efficiency. We recognize we must balance our time across doing the whole job, not just parts of it. We do not tolerate spending time on those people and things that waste it.
- We know we achieve success by doing the job–the whole job–with disciplined execution of prospecting, qualifying, deal management, value creation, value delivery. We know there are no silver bullets or “just do this,” techniques that enable us to perform.
- And we do this obsessively and relentlessly.
Selling is tough! But we achieve our goals, with purposefulness, focus, and discipline.