In many companies, salespeople essentially are left to their own devices. They walk into complex, business to business selling situations, with multiple decision makers and unclear buying criteria, armed only with their own background research and their own skills.
In smarter companies, salespeople discuss their accounts, ask for help with strategy, and leverage every resource at the company’s disposal. Selling is seen as a team sport—and everybody is trained to play on the team.
Guess which type of organization usually wins?
Solo act vs. coordinated team: Guess who wins?
In our sales book, “Sales Strategy From the Inside Out,” a dramatic example of team play during a complex sale is described. Sensing major possibilities in a new account, a salesperson named Carrie asks for help from her boss, a vice president who has superior questioning and consulting skills. They plan and execute a strategy together.
The VP, in turn, enlists the aid of their CEO, whose financial acumen enables him to dig into the client company’s public reports and discover a crucial need that allows the sellers to break the deal wide open. Later, a phone call from the sellers’ CEO to the buyers’ CEO plays a helpful role, as well.
How are these three able to team up on the account so quickly and effectively? They’re all operating out of the same playbook and speaking the same language. The VP and the CEO, not just the salesperson, have been trained in the Action Selling system. The managers understand things like the “9 Acts” framework that Carrie is using, the “milestones” she must achieve, and the importance of uncovering the buyers’ critical needs.
In other words, the managers can help Carrie with her sales-strategy because the system lets them. They understand how to contribute to her success. And she trusts them enough to ask for help because she has learned to trust the system.
When every salesperson is supported by a well-coordinated team, “complex” selling gets a lot less complex.
Action Selling In Action Go
“Our greatest difficulty in planning sales calls used to arise from communications challenges,” says Alan Brown, Sales-Manager, Americas for industrial-equipment maker Sundyne Corp. “Now Action Selling has given us a common language to speak with our sales-force and channel partners.”
Before adopting the Action Selling system, Brown explains, “we were focused on presenting. Now we are focused on Commitment Objective and Needs Assessment. These occur before the presentation and are part of a plan to present to needs rather than reciting features of the product.
“Management must be educated on Action Selling or it won’t be as effective,” Brown cautions. “From the top down, managers must be able to speak the language and get involved with the selling process. If you want to drive sales-results regardless of the economic environment, selling must be a team sport.”
Contact us if you have a question about how to devise winning strategies for complex selling environments.