By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® – The Sales Training Company
This article is a continuation from the previous article, as part of the IIWII (“It Is What It Is”) series.
Companies spend significant time, effort and resources teaching sellers about their offerings. It would be foolish to say sellers don’t need to have a good understanding of the offerings they sell. The problem is that product training prepares sellers to discuss (present) features and details executive buyers have neither the time nor the desire to learn about.
At a high level my view is that executives don’t buy offerings. What they actually buy are business outcomes that can be achieved through the use of a seller’s offerings. More often than not, decision makers or financial approvers are not users of offerings they buy. Rather than a detailed product “pitch” they’d like to have a “10,000 foot elevation” understanding of the offering being considered. Executive buyers would like sellers to first uncover business outcomes they want to achieve, discuss the current environment as to why those outcomes can’t be achieved and finally a conceptual understanding of how relevant features within an offering could be used to achieve desired outcomes.
1. The problem is that most organizations leave it up to each salesperson to try to distill the product training they receive into coherent 30-minute sales calls on executives with different business objectives. Dependent upon the size and complexity of offerings, the list can be intimidating and could include the CEO, CFO, VP Sales, CIO, VP Marketing, VP Manufacturing, etc.
2. Sales and product training are offered as separate silos that sellers must integrate on their own. A study done by Sales Benchmark Index found that on average, 13% of sellers generate 87% of the revenue within organizations. Another way of interpreting this data is that 13% of sellers are “A Players” capable of positioning offerings to high-level buyers while the vast majority fall back on product presentations when calling at high levels.
Sales Ready Messaging® offers a way to integrate the silos of sales and product training by breaking down:
- The high-level titles sellers must call on to sell, fund and implement offerings.
- For each title a menu of business outcomes that can be achieved with the offering is created.
- Each title/outcome becomes the basis for a prompter that maps only features relevant to achieving the outcome and describing how those features would be used.
- Diagnostic questions are created to uncover whether the buyer is likely to need each feature and if so, uncover potential costs of not having the feature.
This approach to integrating sales and product training can enable the 87% of sellers that struggle with positioning to emulate the calls “A” Players can make.