In a discussion about sales strategy and training having a large, national company executive a week ago, I found out that they are struggling using a VERY difficult decision – They are wanting to decide which direction to choose their sales training, and therefore, using sales and purchases management strategy.
Do they create the dedication to go using a sales strategy and related training that specializes in implementing a highly-structured process? Or do with each goes the “other direction” and go having a sales training and implementation methodology that focuses primarily on “relationship skills?” (People)
He said, “We’re trying to find the next great sales idea. We’ve spoken challenging big-name sales training organizations in existence, the ones discussions have generated a major debate once we try to create our selection:
One group is really a VERY persuasive argument for utilizing a very structured selling method that leads to strategic account development, combined with the implementation of any strong system of performance controls and measurements.
The other camp makes an equally persuasive argument for teaching our people information about establishing, building, and leveraging relationships.
Frankly, we’re stuck in a crossroads – Which way will we go? This is a HUGE decision, considering that the choice we make here will require an essential commitment of energy, money, and resources; and that we just can’t risk making a mistake.
Which these organizations is correct? And are these the one options we’ve? Aren’t there any new GREAT SALES IDEAS in existence? What are your notions?”
The Youthful “Right” Answer
Over earlier times twenty-five years, like a business-to-business sales professional, senior manager, trainer and gratifaction coach, I’ve been involved with this “great debate” more times than I can remember – On both sides in the decision – Buyer and seller.
When I was a, brimming with fire sales team manager that knew everything there seemed to be to know about sales and purchasers management, I had a VERY strong opinion concerning this issue. (Why is it that when we’re young, could EVERYTHING; and even as get older we “KNOW” less?)
During my first many years in sales and purchases management, I was absolutely convinced that PROCESS was a better solution. If you mastered this process, then you WOULD become successful in sales.
I remember, with chagrin, one conversation I had having a senior executive within my firm that was wanting to give me some coaching about my approach. She said, “You know Jim, one has had some turnover inside your sales team, along with your capture rate (your closing rate) is gloomier than it may very well be if you softened your approach a lttle bit, and paid a bit more attention to people’s feelings, and might be a somewhat more patient with others who aren’t as fast-paced since you. You are pretty direct and hard-core, and also your force of personality sometimes blows people away.”
My arrogant response was, “You know Jane, I’m the top-producing salesperson inside organization, and my team would be the top-producing team within the company. We out-produce almost every other team by at the least 40%. If the competition could learn the procedure as well as I have, and when they could get their pace to check mine, then maybe they are able to come just a little closer to our performance. And you know, I just will not have time to waste around the feeling stuff – I have sales to generate. And, despite the fact that my closing rate is less, percentage-wise, than others, I have personally out-performed any salesperson inside company by 1 / 2. Thanks for the input, but the procedure is what it’s exactly about.”
Just a tad defensive and arrogant, huh? Well, my excuse is I was simply following our leader. I was trained in the task by a really successful salesman/sales trainer, and I learned everything he taught, and devoted to doing what exactly he taught, to your letter.
My target process was further reinforced using a GREAT book and training series by Miller Heiman, Strategic Selling. Strategic Selling provided terrific understanding of the world of business-to-business selling; and provided a prepared framework for high-performance business sales. I had learned a simple, structured approach, but was a little unpolished.
Miller Heiman really captured the organization to business sales process, in their entirety. This approach was logical, highly-structured, measurable, and VERY professional. I must have read the publication ten times, and had three or four Strategic Selling workshops and/or lectures. I did my best to implement everything they taught, and also this approach helped to “supercharge” my selling and purchasers management career. When inspired to provide a report on “essential conditions sales,” Strategic Selling happens to be at the top of my list. I highly-recommend the publication, plus the training to everyone who would like to build a successful career running a business to business sales. GREAT INFORMATION.