Category Archives: Sales enablement

Hints to sell to the C-suite

We would all love to have executive connections but once you have them do you believe you have the business language that will resonate with these guys and will enable you to develop executive relationships? It may not be as easy as you may think. These guys have crazy busy schedules and they won’t give you a second chance to waste their time. If you missed the first opportunity, you are toasted for ever.

You will find in the Buyer’s perspective webinar series by Executive Conversation some great hints about how people at the CxO level think and expect that you use the precious time they accepted to give you.

If you came unprepared, it is too late. If you have decided to be prepared, then these webinars will help you define how you shall prepare yourself. I personally found them very useful to step into the shoes of these guys and seat on the other side of the mirror to have a feel about how I would be perceived… Unfortunately it turned out to be not as shiny as I would have liked it to be. Conscious incompetence is a good basis to start improving !

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Thinking out loud about Trigger-based selling

I was watching a series of 3 “OneSource” webinars last summer dealing with Trigger-based selling TM by SHiFT! What I found most interesting in these presentations was the foundational principle that most sales people push hard to sell either to the wrong person or at the wrong time. A a matter of fact,

  • When you are trying to sell to someone, who is happy with the status quo, your chances of success are quite low. That person is simply not interested, you are just wasting your time,
  • Reversely, when your customer has decided to buy and is actively seeking potential vendors, there will be a lot of competition for this publicly available business and your chances of success will decrease with the number of bidders.
  • However, between these 2 extremes, there is the sweet spot that was the focus of the presentation. Your customer is unhappy with the status quo, he would like to change but has not initiated yet the process of finding a replacement solution. This is where your chances of winning are high because if you come with a satisfactory solution, which is readily available and without having to go through a cumbersome procurement process, it looks like a Win/Win for the customer and for yourself.

I’m a presales professional, most of the time I’m called in to pursue opportunities by the time they have come public as the customer released a Request For Information (RFI) or Request For Proposal (RFP). Reflecting on these webinars, isn’t the timing wrong or at least sub-optimal? By then we are in a highly competitive environment where our chances of winning are much lower than before and the presales investment in order to close the deal will be so much bigger compared to closing a sole-source opportunity. So as a presales professional, my questions become the following: If the biggest opportunity is before the customer has decided to make a public tender, why are we never called in by our Sales colleagues to pursue sole-source opportunities? How can it be that we are investing massively sales and presales money on opportunities that obviously do not show the highest possible returns? Is there a fundamental flaw in the way Sales people chase the order today? Is it time to rethink the way we sell in light of the disruption that we see between the XX and the XXI centuries?

Recognizing early enough in the sales cycle when the battle is lost…

I was listening to this TAS group webinar the other day:

“Selling Predictions 2011

We’ve made the recorded event available to you in our Webinar Archive alongside other previous events in The TAS Group Webinar series. We’ve also made the slides available for download.”

and the following artefacts stroke me. Even though most surveyed participants said during the webinar that they experienced longer sales cycles in 2010, the hard data showed that:

  1. Closing the deal was actually shorter by 23% than in the prior year
  2. Losing it on the other hand took 50% more time.

Should we see a sign in there that “Refuse to lose” initiatives did not reap the expected benefits? Furthermore is this an indication that we are investing too much sales resources too late in the sales cycle? If we do not get it right from the very beginning, the hard and painful reality is that we cannot win the race when we started last…