The Alphabet Article Series – The ABCs of Solving Sales Problems – The 3 “B’s”

If you read the 3 “A’s” in the first part of this series, you now know a little about me and have some insight into our philosophy about approaching sales properly. And, if you spent that time in your week reading my article in trade for something else you could have been doing, thank you. I truly hope you took at least one thing away that will make your organization better.
Let’s dive right in…

The 3 “B’s” are as follows:

Belief        Buy-in        Benchmark

Belief. If you are a business owner, a sales manager, or are at the top of the sales team, this “B” begins with YOU. And, it has two sides to it, a belief in the outcome of what your product or services does, and a sincere belief that it is the RIGHT THING for the client. Much like Mr. Sinek’s “WHY” principle, your belief in your service and the fact that it is a quantifiable benefit to your client is critical.

The reality is that this permeates your sales collateral, your sales pitch, your whole sales team and your BELIEVABILITY.

Believability is foundational to the trust in the client relationship that takes time to build. Your internal belief system will be evident to your clients, especially when engaging with them directly. They will feel it in your choice of verbiage, in your body language, and in their engagement with you. It is the first step in having any real shot at consummating the relationship.

Buy-In. People often say that “true sales” begins when you get the first “no” from a prospect. While there is some truth to that thought process, I would argue it starts much, much earlier than that. It starts at home, with YOUR TEAM. And that means both your sales team and your operations team, everyone and anyone in your organization that touches the client, the sales process, and the delivery and fulfillment of your obligations to the client.

It’s part of the reason the first “B” is so critical, because all of this starts from WITHIN the organization.

Let’s break this one apart a bit and start with the operational side of your business. We all know how difficult it is to earn the right to service a client. So, RETENTION is everything, right? Well this is where the buy-in from your operations team means everything. Remember these people on your team are talented in servicing your client. So, you must ensure that they not only understand the process but that they understand the vision, in other words, the actual impact they are having for the client, long-term. If they share the company’s beliefs and they are focused on the good they are doing for the clients, you will avoid the pitfall of operational doldrums that can plague any talented operations team. They will instead thrive on the core beliefs and the outcome of your mission for the client.

Now for the sales side of your business.

There’s no other way to say this but to say your sales team buy-in is MISSION CRITICAL.

And it’s not altogether different from your OPS team. We all know that with sales teams comes the personality problem. All salespeople are different and there is an inherent understanding that, to some degree, you must tolerate “their way” of doing things. As an old sales guy myself, I like the analogy of “herding cats”, difficult, tricky, but necessary to some extent. But despite their varying degrees of personality, they must be fully bought into you, your beliefs, and to the outcomes for the clients.

Like with OPS, they must believe in the good you are doing for your clients. And they need to understand the bigger, more long-term picture. I would go as far to say that however you choose to compensate them in terms of lift from sales, it is in everyone’s best interest to tie commissions in some way to this element:
Basing part of the commission on the length of tenure of the client.

It’s one sure-fire way to help make sure it doesn’t place all the focus on how big the commission is and instead it’s on the benefit to the client (and the client inherently becomes a regular, on-going customer).

And last, but certainly not least this week, is Benchmarking. Remember what I said in the “A’s” about data? Here we go again…

Benchmarks. This is obviously your measuring stick. If you are in business, sales and servicing of clients, you know you must measure. It is important to note, however, that there are several things you should be evaluating as you go. Because the proper Key Performance Indicators vary so widely from mission to mission, I am going to focus on the variety of things you may want to consider benchmarking. In my estimation, all the following are important, but some are often overlooked or undervalued.

Here’s a list of some of the things we think are important to benchmark:

• Messaging
• Upward trends
• Prospect population
• Geographic region
• Key words
• Positioning of the value proposition as it relates to prospects
• Daily, weekly, monthly team performance
• Upward trends
• Downward trends
• Amount of technology required
• Amount of human resources and subject matter expertise required
• Team morale on the mission
• On-going client satisfaction
• Client responsivity to generated leads
• Client feedback on prospect interaction
• KPIs as they relate to client ROI.

I could go on, but my hope is that I’ve listed one or more benchmarks that you have not considered or, looking back, you know you’ve overlooked and in hindsight wished you wouldn’t have. I could write a book about the specific methodologies of benchmarking that are beyond the scope here, but as a self-professed data geek, I would be remiss to at least not list it as an important, on-going focal point.

Keep people first, use the 3 “B’s” as they can benefit you best, and know that I am here to help or just chat should you ever want to discuss what’s best for your team.
To raising all ships!

P.S. Be sure to join us next week when we talk about the 3 C’s – Creativity, Consistency & Conversion