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How to deliver information to sales people to win more

Every week, we address common sales, marketing, and leadership problems that hinder companies from progressing faster.

How to deliver information to sales people to win more

Every week, we address common sales, marketing, and leadership problems that hinder companies from progressing faster. There are many ways to coach your salespeople, but it basically comes down to two steps:

  • Asking the right questions is crucial to establishing a firm foundation.
  • Having a sales framework in place is critical, as it determines how your team approaches selling.

A sales manager needs to implement a style of selling to provide context for sales coaching, just as a soccer football team manager establishes a style of play (such as counter-attacking, high-pressing, or direct) to provide context for coaching.

There are many sales frameworks available (MEDDIC, SANDLER, BANT, etc.), but I strongly recommend the SPICED framework developed by Winning By Design, as it spans the customer journey and not just for new logos.

Using Salesforce, I want to create a sales framework to ensure that salespeople are reminded of the data they must assess deals and can report progress asynchronously. For example, using the SPICED framework, you would include variables for Situation, Pain, Impact, Critical Event, and Decision, and you would associate all contacts with an opportunity as Contact Roles to measure multi-threading.

Preparing the most effective questions to ask at each stage of the sales process is 50% of success, so building a library of sales questions is beneficial.

There are 4 types of sales questions:

There are two kinds of questions you can ask your team. Close-ended questions, such as, “How many salespeople are on your team today?”, are easy to answer if you have a fact or simple yes/no answer. Open-ended questions like “How does your sales process work today?” or “You mentioned that deal stalling occurs in the proposal phase. Why do you think that is?” help the buyer open up and communicate what will change if they remove their pain (utopia) and what will happen if not (dystopia). For example, “What would change if you could improve your win rate from proposal onwards?” can help the buyer describe their desire. Is there anything preventing you from moving forward, based on what you've heard on today's call?”

Having a record of your sales calls is as crucial as watching game tapes in sports; it's a must-have. There are several tools to enable this, and many of them can be configured to automatically start a call and connect it to the relevant opportunity, avoiding the embarrassing moment when you press record on Zoom.

To see what is working well and what they need to improve, salespeople must self-reflect. While you can make progress as a coach by being prescriptive, the most powerful results come when you ask questions that help your students self-reflect, arrive at their own answers, and internalize them in a way that works for them.

Here are some great things to ask:

What’s on your mind? It helps focus the conversation on the challenges that the salesperson is facing rather than the coach pushing his or her own agenda. Are customers a match for our company's target customer profile? What impact will the client seek?

If we don't know what the client wants to achieve, we won't be able to create a successful proposal. What is the client seeking in terms of emotional impact (saving time and boosting productivity)? There are two rational results (saving money, reducing corporate risk, making money) sought by the executive sponsor who will pay. We need to know what the critical event is, when it will occur, and how it will impact the client.

If we don't know, there is no way to create momentum for the client to move the deal forward in their company. Who are the decision makers, and what are their requirements? There are multiple decision makers, and it is crucial to know what they care about and what they value. Without this data, the likelihood of a proposition being rejected is much higher. What did you miss? Salespeople have a difficult time picking up everything that a client says during a phone call, so listening back to the call and writing down three things they did well that correlate with the organization's mission and three things they may have done better.

The most common oversights are 1) when the client mentions other people involved in the purchasing decision process and the salesperson does not ask about their role or criteria, as well as when the client mentions something that is important to them and the salesperson does not ask follow-up questions about the impact. What alternatives does your company offer? Do we have an executive summary that maps the client's needs with our solution?

Have we offered packaging choices to allow the client to trade? These strategies lower the risk of the proposal being rejected and increase the likelihood that the client will provide feedback to improve future offers. What else is happening? Great questions to ask to get a sense.

Daan Pruijssers
Verified writer
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