Proactive Prospecting Summer – Part 5
Last week in the Proactive Prospecting Summer series, we looked at how to respond to the question of “What Do You Sell”. Arguing that the response needs to align with buyer/prospect expectations, meaning the statement should be about the business outcomes achieved, not the means of achieving them. The question I usually get, and a valid one, is “Well how am I supposed to know what their objectives are or business impacts they are looking for?” Well, it may take a bit of effort, but most sales people know this better than they pretend, they just have to change a few approaches.
“Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it”
Avoid Being Doomed
While most sales people nod knowingly when you say this, they fail to follow through on actually reviewing and understanding why the opportunity ended the way it did. Oddly enough, one of the most common refrains I get from sales managers is that it is not a good use of time, as opposed to the time wasted doing the same thing over and over without thought. There is some merit to the argument that if you have a lot of opportunities go in to the pipeline every month, then it does take a disproportionate time to properly review all of them. You can get the same outcome by reviewing a representative sample. If you are one of those sales that is more transactional, and say you have 50 opportunities that go into the pipeline, you can review 10 – 15 and gain all the benefit, without the fat.The other thing you want to do is review all three outcomes, win – lose – draw (no decision). You can pretend like some do that you can get away with reviewing only wins or only losses, but you run the risk of not spotting trends early enough, and only responding to change after it bites you. You also want to make sure to review the no decisions, these will give you insights as to why the deal stalled, so you can approach it differently next time. Better yet, since they did engage, you have some understanding of what was getting them to act, and the review will tell why they stopped; as things change, these will be the first opportunities to go to, rekindle, and complete.
What Are We Looking For?
Even in organizations where they do a more thorough job reviewing outcomes, they tend to look at how they executed, important, but not what we want you to focus on. We are looking to understand objectives we have been able to help customers achieve, and more specifically, what business outcomes they realized as a result.
I spoke with a company whose business it is to do third party post mortems, and they point to the fact that in most instances sales people cannot articulate why they lost a give deal. Where sales people will point to product features, price, personalities, and similar “not my fault, did everything I could”, the reality they find over and over is different.
When prospects who chose another vendor are interviewed by a professional who is looking to understand, not rationalize, the story is entirely different. Prospects tell them they did not get the sense that rep understood their direction, place in the market, and issues they faced in their reality, not one shaped and defined by a product, and the rep’s quota.
You may ask why this is important on cold prospecting call? Well if you call and sound like the 5,000 calls before you, you are going to suffer a similar fate to 4,999 of them. Product, feature, ROI, all noise. What difference can you make to their objectives, their market share, their cost of borrowing, their cost structure, or any of the other things they were likely thinking about based on their role and objectives. Start a call with that and you increase you odds of engaging, getting an objection you can deal with, and turn an interruption into a conversation.
How Do We Do This
We use a tool called the 360 Degree Deal View, you can download it here. While it does capture the usual execution stuff, it allows you to focus on objectives broadly speaking, and then the specific underlying elements. It does so in a way that allows you to lead with objectives and outcomes, and build from there.
Download the 360 Degree Deal View, play with it, run your last five deals through it, see what you discover. You can also visit Sales Gravy University, and enroll in the Proactive Prospecting Program, there is a complete section on why you should adopt a review process, and several segments on how to best use the 360 Degree Deal View. As you do, and you need some input or have questions, just reach out happy to help.