Two weeks ago, I moderated a sales panel for the Manufacturers Alliance (https://www.mfrall.com/). One of the speakers discussed sales process, training and outcomes. His focus was on productivity. After the presentation, one of the audience approached me and asked if there was a way to “short circuit” the sales process. I replied that the basics of the sales process are similar in most B2B industrial sales-it’s how they are applied that are different.
The six basic steps are: 1. Initial meeting preparation, 2. Client needs assessment, 3. Product/service demonstration, 4. Proposal, 5. Close, 6. Post sales follow up.
Prospects and existing accounts will merit varying levels of investment time and effort at each step. Shortening steps of the basic process may come at a cost which is replacing the customer’s priorities with your company priorities.
I get it . It’s the 4th quarter and you’re looking to make an impact on the year-end. You are shortchanging the relationship-building part of the sales process and will make it up 1Q 20NEXT. Accelerating the process means more committed sales preparation on your part and hustling your organization to keep up with you (and most companies do not perform well at light speed). Here’s some suggestions you might want to try:
A previous blog, http://www.jimthomasintl.com/blog/archives/08-2016 dealt with making your sales calls relevant. It may be time for a review.
Do you want to have a free fifteen minute discussion on sales process? Sign up on my web site http://www.jimthomasintl.com/ or contact me directly by phone.
I was invited to make a presentation at a prospective customer that sold capital equipment ($50K-$250K). The prospect was interested in utilizing our unique ability to research and recruit global distributors for their products. It was a typical second call as I was getting kicked up the management ladder. I listened to them discuss their successes in the domestic market, the superiority of their product and brand and their plans to take their business globally. This prospect had at one time built a nice export business, but had fallen on some bad financial times, retrenched, restructured and was looking to revive their brand globally.
As I probed into their sales process there was an interesting discovery made. The supplier stated that without a “factory SME” an overseas order could not be consummated. The technical specifications for their product were detailed and application driven, only a competent engineer was able to “win the day.” The distributor was there "to go along for the ride." Hmmm I thought, a few more questions:
We have all successfully utilized SME’s in the past. They can explain ideas with great depth and clarity. They can interpret the prospect’s business challenges and provide great solutions and alternative product comparisons. SME’s usually reduce the prospect's fears that the product will perform to requirements as well as broaden your company to company relationship. They can do this…if they are prepped for the visit.
A previous blog, http://www.jimthomasintl.com/blog/8-2-tips-for-executives-wanting-to-help-field-sales, dealt with taking execs on the road, but taking an SME on customer visits is a bit different. Using an SME can allow you to build your base of sales champions and influencers at the customers. SME’s are valuable members of your company’s team, but they must be prepared for life in the field and how to apply their expertise properly.
Do you want to have a free fifteen minute discussion on prepping SME's for field visits? Sign up on my web site http://www.jimthomasintl.com/ or contact me directly by phone.