By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® – The Sales Training Company
When launching CustomerCentric Selling® in 2002 the first core concept of our process was: No goal means no prospect. In other words, if sellers can’t get potential buyers to share desired business outcomes (or problems) they’re willing to spend money to achieve (or address), there’s no selling to be done.
This core concept was written well before B2B buyers were leveraging the Internet and social networking to better understand what offerings are available prior to contacting salespeople. We espouse that goals can be shared in two (2) ways:
- The better way is directly from Key Players (titles involved in making buying decisions).
- By proxy from lower level titles speaking on behalf of senior management or their organizations.
Those of you familiar with the CCS® process appreciate that a Targeted Conversation List™ for offerings identifies both the Key Player titles and for each title, a menu of relevant business goals that can be achieved.
It seems this very simple concept could be used to better define what constitutes a lead in these times when many vendors are awash with inbound activity from levels that are unable to spend unless budget has been approved by higher levels. If a lead were defined as a Key Player (or by proxy by a lower level) that has expressed interest in achieving one of more goals, a number of positive things could take place:
- When the lead is passed, sellers can begin by discussing the buyer’s current situation to uncover why the goal can’t be achieved.
- In discussing the current situation, sellers can get an idea of the potential value in addressing barriers so that goals can be achieved.
- In asking business questions of lower level staff, they often will either be unable or unwilling to speak on behalf of higher levels, so a request for access to Key Players would be reasonable.
Without desired business outcomes, sellers are likely to get dragged into premature and unproductive discussions of offerings and pricing. If Marketing and Sales could agree on Targeted Conversation Lists™, part of nurturing inbound inquiries could be trying to make visitors aware of potential value and payback.
Lower level staff (even with a seller’s help) meeting senior management without established value, often result in dashing any hope that funds will be allocated to new initiatives. While not intended for Internet visitors when written several years ago, the core concept “No goal means no prospect” seems more relevant than ever.