Is Your Sales Culture Overdue for a Tune-up?
Security consultant Paul Boucherle shares how to perform an assessment of your sales culture, key relationships, skill-building needs and more.
The lens and lessons of experience often yield clarity of your sales vision for your company. The lumps, scars and bruises remind us of the battles won and lost.
As you build your future sales battle plans, build on what you may already know. Learning history is easy; however, learning its lessons seems impossibly difficult.
Some tough lessons can be instructional, so let’s put together a little sales review course. Some say selling practices and skills have changed so completely in the past 10 years that you should abandon all hope and cling to the new versions of sales strategy opinions, books, lectures or training services … or perish otherwise.
Your BS meter should be pegged to the right, though, or perhaps you buy into the siren song of a marketing pitch because you have not paid close attention to your own experiences and history lessons.
The selling and customer buying environment has certainly changed with technology in a decade’s time; however, the experiences of applying that technology correctly have not.
Search for Answers Internally Before Sending an SOS
There are difficult choices to make when decreasing revenues or open sales positions sing a lullaby of a quick revenue fix. If you are looking for basic sales skills and disciplines in a generic sense, there are plenty of companies that can assist.
If you are looking for more focused sales skills for a specific segment of our industry, seek out a solution that actually sold in your industry. Be careful and ask the right questions before you choose a solution to get your sales revenue back on course.
Here are some places to start…
Address the relationships
Ask yourself and your sales team if key revenue-producing customers have significantly or incrementally changed their buying and decision-making processes.
What I mean is, do the same people who made buying decisions yesterday still make them today or do they have to submit to a different approval process? This may mean that a pure “relationship” selling style needs a tune-up.
Invest where necessary
Does your sales team have access visibility to the next level of decision making? If the answer is no, you have some sales skill-building investments to make in developing higher and wider relationships — and do it soon.
This can be a challenge in the security industry for many reasons, but regardless, it needs to happen.
Be true to yourself
Professional selling has never really changed regardless of what new sales gurus espouse. Professional selling is adaptive; it’s about aligning, qualifying and helping the right type of prospects get what they want because you want to help them get it — period.
The key ingredient? Authenticity! Be the real deal. Be the commitment. Be your brand. Be a company culture that supports, seeks and grows relationships at all levels with customers. Or run away from the sales “opportunity.”
Yes, it’s still a lot of work. Sales disciplines have not really changed much either. Sales is hard work that requires doing your homework, active learning, prospecting, fire in the belly, drive and grit, plus a good intellect.
Stand Up for Your Solutions Expertise
We all know customer buying processes have changed because they have greater access to product and pricing knowledge than ever before. According to some recent studies, they have already made up their minds on a product 57% of the time before they call you, and have five or more influencers making the decisions.
Why should you even participate in the charade? Because you and your team have pride and knowledge of the application of solutions and those lessons learned of what works and what doesn’t work in the battle of new technologies.
You should have the brass to professionally challenge your prospects’ presumed solutions, even when they have a security consultant and written spec for bidding purposes. What?!
Yes I am a security consultant, and yes I write specs, and yes I like to be challenged if there is a better solution available. If consultants are not challenged, then we are not truly serving our customers, are we?
How do you handle this sticky situation? Training, of course, or better yet hire the next generation of salespeople who will fearlessly drive new solutions, business models (like RMR, MSP), and high level relationships without baggage.
Traditional sales training is always good to sharpen existing sales teams’ skills, focus and expectations. However, if you want significantly different sales results, you may need to consider augmenting your existing sales team resources in new and different ways to get results faster with less drama.
If there is a will, there is a way. Professional selling certainly has new technology tools to help with sales success; however, hire the right individual that has the tight grit, aligns with your company culture, and then relentlessly continues their career education. You’ll be better equipped to take on the next sales challenges that loom.
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