There have been so many changes in the sales landscape over the last few years that it is easy to get left behind in the race for success. Differentiation can seem elusive and innovation hard to find, and the competition moves fast and inexorably to replicate new products and services in a heartbeat.
The rise of professional procurement professionals has created a new buying process. Identifying customer needs and matching your product or service to meet that need in the form of “Solution Selling” is no longer enough, now challenging the status quo and problem solving supersedes this. Stereotypical sales people relying on personality, drive and influencing won’t succeed as the buyer now “holds the cards”. Collaborative team selling project management skills and business acumen are now part of an essential new set of sales competencies.
Not only do we need new competencies but we need new strategies and tactics too. Securing time, “high wide and early”, with correctly researched influencers requires more sophisticated techniques and processes than ever before. The changing nature of the buying process with longer costly sales cycles means chasing every opportunity is no longer financially feasible – learning to qualify out is key.
All of these changes, and others, have crept up on the sales community yet many sales organisations still sell in the same way despite dwindling success. Like the chameleon we need to learn to adapt to our environment to survive.
To do so we need to break the mould in how these challenges can be resolved. Harnessing the power of Neuroscience in selling is a consistent theme running through all our programmes taking advantage of the one unique selling point every business possesses: their people, and how they relate to, influence, communicate and engage with their customers.
Strategise: Facilitating your success
The old cliché of “fail to plan, plan to fail” has never been more of a truism. That’s why our “Strategise” facilitation process has been designed to develop the strategic needs of your business.
Whether it be as the launchpad for your budgeting process and next year’s stretching targets or you are running behind target and need to change course, our unique tailored facilitation process will create and define the strategies, tactics, action plans and the tools you need. We don’t pretend to understand your marketplace and challenges better than you, (though we will have thoroughly researched it and engaged with you beforehand) but we do know how best to get those answers by managing a structured and proven process, facilitated by experienced sales experts.
We use the “Pinpoint” process to deliver this – an end-to-end process designed for the delivery of more effective workshops. The various techniques, protocols and facilitator behaviours, ensure buy in and contribution from participants, regardless of their status, confidence and preferred working and learning styles and is used by top Companies, Government Departments and Not for Profit Organisations throughout the world.
Using specialised equipment and materials, output is created in a highly visual, and immediately accessible, format recorded using digital photography and distributed within hours to all participants. All you need is to get your multi-level, multi-functional team together committed to open and challenging discussion and debate.
During the workshop we will review your changing sales landscape, debate target customer types and requirements, look at strengths and vulnerabilities, both corporately and from a human resource capability perspective, to create fully risk assessed solutions, with SMART action plans to implement. Your multi-functional team can focus on their own contribution rather than worry about managing a process and the resultant plans will have buy-in as everyone’s contribution is captured.
An optional follow-up module will create a robust, effective and tailored Qualification Process to target the right opportunities, qualifying out to reduce bid costs, shorten sales cycles and focus your precious resource at the ones you can and want to win.
Evaluate: Assessing your human resource talent
“People buy people” is another cliché and truism. In today’s sales environment, where differentiation is so scarce, your people and their ability to manage relationships by adapting their behavioural style to the prospect in front of them by communicating, influencing and engaging appropriately is more important than ever.
The competencies required in complex B2B selling have shifted significantly yet many sales leaders haven’t consciously changed the way they recruit and develop their people. Just identifying needs and matching solutions to identified needs has been superseded by problem solvers who challenge the status quo and have the ability to develop tailored, bespoke solutions. To succeed today selling collaboratively, project managing a sale, demonstrating genuine business acumen to create solutions which deliver sustainable ROI and impact the balance sheet not just the profit and loss line are all required competencies.
Accordingly, we have devised evaluation processes to assess if your team is fit for today’s sales challenges and growth expectations
Team Development “Accelerate” programme. Delegates first undertake an online behavioural profile (using the Life Orientations (LIFO®) model to assess their selling strengths, excesses and development needs.
A bespoke sales scenario is then developed mirroring an organisations typical selling process. Delegates work in teams over a two-day session to compete to win a contract – working through every stage of the sale from market research, securing an appointment, meeting buying influences, developing solutions and presenting and closing. All sessions are videoed as part of the assessment review.
After each selling stage teams are de-briefed and coached on their performance by sales experts and each delegate and team is rated against an agreed set of weighted competencies. Scores are aggregated through each session to select a final winning team.
This a not only a powerful team-building exercise but also highlights individual and team competency strengths and gaps and the behavioural selling style needed. Delegates also get to see and learn from how others sell. Feedback is given both collectively and individually.
Individual Assessment for Development The same process is undertaken individually but further enhanced by a competency-based interview to add further data and insight. Several delegates can be assessed during a day through the use of our expert sales assessment team. Detailed competency maps are developed per individual.
This robust and proven process generates individual and team development needs but may also indicate individuals that may not have the potential for the role. If so, our recruitment process follows a similar process to assess shortlisted candidates to find the talent you need.
The Psychology of Selling Our “Capitalise” programme harnesses the power of Neuroscience in selling to deliver the competitive edge your organisation needs in today’s crowded marketplace in an interactive facilitated 3-day workshop.
The three-phase programme is designed to enable delegates to Discover, Manage and Master the way they communicate, engage, persuade, influence and build relationships with their customers at every stage of the sale to improve conversion ratios and reduce sales cycles. The Capitalise programme creates a personal development action plan to strengthen the selling style of your current sales force and identifies gaps which can be incorporated into your corporate growth strategy.
Delegates undertake an online behavioural profile survey online to identify their own behavioural profile. A written personal profile report analyses behavioural preferences across four orientations as shown in the Circumplex graphic and provides subset scores that rate Intention, Behaviour and Impact on others. 360˚ online feedback is also generated from their manager, colleagues and direct reports.
An accredited LIFO® practitioner reviews and interprets the report to confirm the accuracy of the profile via one-to-one sessions to increase self-awareness. Delegates also get a “tour of the brain” to discover the selling power of Neuroscience
and learn the seven proven universal principles and techniques that help persuade, influence and engage customers.
This phase builds a delegate’s personal development action plan by learning how to manage their personal behavioural profiles and blend of orientations in the specific context of their roles and responsibilities using “LIFO®’s” six core strategies depicted below. Delegates are facilitated to recognise the sales strengths and excesses of each orientation and coached to identify and address the areas they need to focus upon to improve performance.
The third phase coach’s delegates how to bridge to the orientations of their customers to more successfully communicate, engage, persuade and influence them, more commonly known as “Adaptive Selling”. They will practice the “rules of engagement” to “bridge” to each orientation throughout every stage of the sales process whilst refreshing and challenging core selling skills and techniques. The goal is to become an expert sales chameleon adapting behaviour to any individual or situation they encounter.
This innovative, interactive facilitated workshop brings a fresh perspective to selling to meet the needs of today’s sales landscape.
Coaching to embed the learning the benefits of using Coaching in any business are well documented. Amongst many statistics these two simple sales ones stand out:
Over the past few years of economic restraint, we have seen manager to sales person ratios grow significantly meaning less 1:1 time than ever before. When accompanied field visits take place not many managers have the skills to coach effectively, and they often only accompany direct reports on strategic deals where winning is paramount or and in such circumstances the manager often intervenes and takes over the sale. The opportunity to coach is lost. Furthermore, coaching is often only implemented as a cure for poor performance and therefore seen as a punishment not a benefit to the coachee.
As ILM qualified Business Coach and Mentors, we know that if individuals are to complete a learning cycle then input must be sustained or the return on investment is likely to be lost. That’s why we offer a variety of proactive Coaching solutions as an intrinsic part of our offer to move sales people beyond “good” performance to “great”.
Behavioural Profiling Coaching
By developing personal and bespoke behavioural development plans we coach performance improvement for Directors and sales and account management alike, with clearly documented goals to develop their own ideas and plans to deliver the results they need.
Field Accompaniment Coaching Using an agreed weighted sales competency framework we offer coaching on accompanied field visits to improve performance be it at first appointments, account reviews or presentations.
Agreed competency goals are set for individuals to identify performance improvements. An action based coaching report is generated by the coachee and agreed with line management. Follow up sessions plot a path to continuous improvement.
Funnel Coaching Sales funnel reviews can too often become “tell” sessions where actions are received but not owned by the sales person. Often the actions therefore don’t get completed. Funnel review often reveal deals that are going nowhere resulting in wasted sales effort, allowing individuals to refocus on deals they really can win.
These reviews are a perfect opportunity to coach improved performance, create focus, improve conversion ratios and increase sales velocity by accelerating key actions
Authored and Contributed by: Mark Erskine