Once you have identified opportunities and you have the right people and partners aligned to those opportunities, you want to make sure that those sales folks or partners deliver the right pitch. And you shouldn’t leave that to chance. You should apply science and process to it.
There’s a few ways that you can do this. The first is to segment the customer base so that you know the different needs of different segments. The second is to equip your sales force with the listening skills to be able to identify what we call the fingerprint of an opportunity, so they can match the customer to value proposition.
The third is to provide support to the sales force in the form of predictive analytics, next product to buy, or segment typing tools that help the sales force understand what to pitch, especially in companies that have complex portfolios.
Then you need to have marketing and sales be best friends. Marketing needs to be able to help sales in the form of either the right collateral at the proposal stage, or lead generation and demand generation. But matching that marketing investment to the right spots in the sales funnel is critical.
And then finally, rigorous account planning. So at the end of the day, nothing beats having a very deliberate plan of what we’re going to sell to whom, within an organization, and doing that pre-planning to be ready for action in the field.
As you think over how to create the right pitch, there’s a great example from a high-tech client of mine who was very much a product feature/function-selling sales force. The company has since evolved into more of a business outcome/solution-oriented sales force.
It went through a full revamp of its marketing umbrella in terms of what value propositions the company was going to lead with. The company then trained its sales force to have inquiry skills to be able to uncover customer needs, and supported the sales force with a number of tools to be able to enable the matching, such as big video libraries.
And then the company had very rigorous account planning. And all of this resulted in the company being repositioned in the eyes of customers and even the investor community.