So what makes a high performing team sales culture? Is it critical that you get your sales and profits through a team based approach to sales and marketing? Is a high performing team the best way to grow your business revenue?
Recent studies by CEB, authors of the Challenger Sales and Challenger Customer series of books, share that today’s sales process has become a team sport. Their breakthrough research shows that there are 4.6 decision makers involved in every major purchasing decision today. Are you ready to make your sales efforts a team sport?
Here’s what I’ve seen over the past year that’s led me to begin talking with my clients about redesigning their sales and marketing capabilities. Buyers have become more sophisticated in dealing with sales professionals. Many are using new technologies and resources to help support their cost reduction efforts.
Often they wait until over 60% of their initial procurement process is completed before approaching a sales professional. Many professional purchasing people are becoming very good at commoditizing your products or services. They’ve also developed a high performing team to erode your selling price and margins.
They are becoming very good at automating their procurement processes. They have consultants hired specifically to help them decrease the cost of their major purchases. Many are niche players that focus only on certain products and services. Many are only paid if they save their clients significant money. Would it impact how you did your job if you knew you only got paid if you received significant cost savings on a purchase? We will talk more about strategies for dealing with these purchasing consultants in a future blog.
Many of these consultants are masters of creating shootouts for their clients. In case you haven’t been in one of these, they have you invest your time producing a response to an RFP. Depending what products or services you sell it could take many hours or days to create this response. You must decide if you want to involve your high performing team in this response.
During that time you have access only to a limited number of people with the client organizations. You then get hustled into a meeting where you’re given 30-60 minutes to tell the potential client why you’re the best choice as a vendor. This process continues several times for the client.
I believe sales is becoming a high performing team sport. I’ve discovered that as hard as purchasing may try, they struggle to keep professional peers from talking with each other. I can give you several ways to help disrupt this style of purchasing power.
Here’s a great example I use with my middle market clients. I’m the CFO, I call the CFO at the firm I’m trying to sell to and ask if they need additional information from my organization. The CFO is great member for your high performing team because he isn’t thought of a sales professional.
I’m a product manager and I know the person on the client side in marketing. I might call them to see what’s happening in the organization. Reach out to informal peer networks throughout the organization you are selling into.
On the front end, my inbound sales person is providing advice to help the potential client develop their RFP. Our person should know what’s happening inside the client because they are contacting them on a regular basis. Only when they feel an opportunity is coming up will this account move on to an outside sales person.
My technical resources are always seeing their peers at this potential client at conferences and trade shows. In many cases, they know more about this company than many of the people inside the client organization. All this information can be factored into our RFP.
Finally, the senior sales executive is knows 3 of the 4. 6 people involved in the purchasing decision. She can spend her time identifying the final two people involved in this purchasing decision.
The good news is that with all this information, we are more likely to win the project than the people who only know the purchasing team and their cost saving consultants. Now what has to happen to win the project? We have a group a great professionals on our team but we need to be able to make it a high performing team that can will the RFP profitably.
I use a five C model to help high performing teams win more business. It’s critical that we work as a team if we want to win more often.
Next week I’ll share this model that is designed to help your high performing team win more sales. See you next week.