Selling in Today’s Marketplace
Volume 6 Number 9—May 12, 2017
You must add value! Whether the sales representative of a vendor or an internal advocate for something new and promising.
In our last blog, we defined an Operational Excellence (OE) framework.[i] If you’re a supplier or an internal department and believe you can help facilitate the journey to OE, how do you get your point across and get management to commit to your Value Proposition?
Know the business! Whether an external vendor or an internal department such as IT, to be successful you must be able to articulate a Value Proposition that is aligned with the Vision, Mission and Strategy of the business.
Moreover, customers no long wish to be sold or buy from organizations that simply want to close a sale and move on to the next. They are looking for the Trusted Advisor to develop a long term “joint” commitment.
So, the bottom line! To be successful whoever is selling whatever must build a viable value proposition that directly and measurably solves business problems. She must also have the faith of the client as well.
As depicted in the following Venn diagram, we have identified four actions necessary for sales representative or internal advocate to close today’s deal. We have comments on these at least once over the past five plus years of this blog.[iii]
Our experience and research over several decades of direct sales, sales management, general management and professional services have led to the following simple, yet difficult to implement sales model. Moreover, it is important to note that all four actions are necessary for success in this competitive marketplace.
As mentioned, the following four actions are straightforward and easily defined. A brief synopsis follows:
• Language of the Business—Sales people and particularly those selling technology often see their world through the lens of their product/solution. However, the language of business is finance.
All investments, especially CAPEX must demonstrate a Return on Investment (ROI) or similar metric. Our Economic Value Proposition Matrix• model was developed to provide sales management with the tool necessary to meet this criterion of this model.[iv] Interested readers are invited to review this reference.
• Alignment with the Business—Long a problem for information technology investments, spend must not just be aligned with the business model, it must make sense. As discussed in the last blog does a small investment in software add to the business even at the inconvenience of the CIO?[v] If it is just troublesomeness to this executive and his agenda, then his decision does not meet this test.
The “better mousetrap” mindset is narrow and not relevant today. There is a wealth of mousetraps to pick from. Do not fall in love with a solution! Assure yourself that this tenet is met.
Creative ideas in this context are those that might change the competitive landscape, dramatically increase revenue, restructure the cost structure or similar “game changing” approaches. They are not frivolous or poorly thought out. They ARE the result of knowledge and insight—expertise.
Help your customer become the Thought Leader in their sectors. This will go a long way towards becoming their trusted advisor.
• Trusted Advisor—We all know about the relationship has with a spouse, religion figure, attorney, physician and others we encounter who hold our personal future in their hands. Organizations also hold their future in the hands of business doctors.
In all of these cases, individuals reveal very personal information. Likewise, organizations take trusted advisors into confidence and place great store in their counsel. Paraphing several sayings, “Trust is difficult to earn and easily lost.” This is perhaps the most important action.
So, we see that while simply defined, these four actions are difficult to attain and maintain. Furthermore, closing a deal takes a lot of tenacity on the part of the sales representative and his/her organization.
Accomplishing all of this takes a great deal of work. Yet billions of dollars in revenue later, this author can assure readers that this approach is the only way to be successful in today’s market.
If one can provide a roadmap to this epicenter, then the deal is closed!
How does Your Sales Model Address Current Market Realities?
See our Operations Management System solution to obtain Operational Excellence
Free Economic Value Proposition Matrix version 2.0 (Realize the value of your investment)
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About the Author
Dr. Scott M. Shemwell has over 30 years technical and executive management experience primarily in the energy sector. He is the author of six books and has written extensively about the field of operations. Shemwell is the Managing Director of The Rapid Response Institute, a firm that focuses on providing its customers with solutions enabling Operational Excellence and regulatory compliance management. He has studied cultural interactions for more than 30 years—his dissertation; Cross Cultural Negotiations Between Japanese and American Businessmen: A Systems Analysis (Exploratory Study) is an early peer reviewed manuscript addressing the systemic structure of societal relationships.