Imagine you’re in corporate sales. You have 400+ (I’ve been quoted this) items in your email and your in-mail grows by the day. What should you read? Can’t decide? Take a day off from selling or delete them all?
Imagine you have a portfolio of say 20 products and services to sell. How do you keep up to date with what is important and relevant? You can only assimilate a tiny fraction of what is available – but is it the right fraction? How would you know? How would the people sending that information know?
Now imagine you have a portfolio of over 600 products and services. What chance, of keeping up to date, have you now?
A smarter planet means everything connects: across brands,across industries, across technologies… across everything. What does this mean to the customer? And the customer could be anybody.
Now you’re a sales director.
How do enable your sales people to have the breadth of conversation with a wide range of people (architects, hospital managers, mayors, CEOs, business owners etc. rather than CIOs/technical people).
You are no longer dealing with a bucket full of information but an ocean full.
How do you enable selling across a huge range of products and services?
Throwing e-learning at it will not work – there is just too much stuff.
Each sales person needs to be like a general practitioner – which means the patient that comes through the door may have one of thousands of ailments. How can an individual sales person be an expert in all of these at the same time?
Build ‘an expert on everybody’s shoulder’ to whisper guidance in their ear. The ‘expert’ will equip each salesperson with everything they need to generate trust, articulate value and inspire action with senior customer executives. Once they get the ball rolling for a particular opportunity then, hopefully, it’s business as usual for them.
Salespeople want information but….
3 critical factors I’ve observed about your typical salesperson:
- Short attention span
- Wants everything on a plate – won’t work at it
- Wants the relevant up to date information in seconds – not minutes, hours or days
- “A common weakness: most sales support material (I come across) is designed “Inside-Out”, not from the customer’s perspective. Top performers take this material, massage it and whiteboard a powerful “Outside-In” story. This is what you capture and disseminate. (“Inside-Out” collateral lists features and benefits. “Outside-In” focuses on value, trust and evidence)
- Content needs to be vetted by top and average performers, and technical experts, to ensure it is fit for purpose – i.e. will make selling easier.
- No module of information lasts more than 90 seconds.
- Everything needs to be at their fingertips
- The approach focuses initially on getting the customer to say “tell me more”. Then it makes it easy for the customer to say ‘Yes!’. The approach e-quips the salesperson for this precise purpose. E-quipping isn’t e-learning. (Warning: e-quipping is vastly misunderstood by the Training and Development community because they look at it as learning. They don’t get it.)
Paul C Burr