Now, you’ve defined the steps of your sales process, but you aren’t done yet, you need to spend some time thinking about your sales methodology.
The piece, though, that I think people miss is that there’s an overlay on top of the sales process, which is your sales methodology and this is your secret sauce. This is what you are doing. And each step, maybe it’s uncovering pain, maybe it’s identifying whether or not you’ve got you’ve figured out budget. There are many systems that list them all because some of them are proprietary. But understanding and training towards the skill set necessary to adhere to a sales process by utilizing a sales methodology that’s repeatable is key for scaling as well to integrate.
The Difference Between Sales and Marketing
Exactly. So people know what to do when they’re in any specific stages in the process.
There are a lot of methodologies out there. Each one has its own strengths and weaknesses and a lot of them are so similar it’s hard to tell the difference. Your job as a sales leader is to figure out which methodology is going to work best when it comes to executing your sales process with your target persona. Because there are so many methodologies out there, the fact is no single one methodology is going to be perfectly suited to your sales process and your persona. That’s why Mike Kunkel suggests something different, taking multiple sales methodologies that you like and mixing them together in a way that suits your business and your team the best.
I’ve actually started to migrate toward recommending something that I’ve seen and I’ve been doing top producer analysis in various companies that I work for and clients for about the past 16 years. And there’s an interesting trend that I’ve seen with the very top producers is they don’t tend to use one methodology. It comes right back to this whole buyer focused thing. They tend to react or respond to what where the buyer is. So think about this for a second. You’ve got a buyer and when you’re talking to them, they’ve already thought through a lot of the problem and they have very clear needs they can articulate with the language of needs. What we need to do is we’ve got to accomplish it’s important to us that and they start talking that way. You can use good old fashioned needs based selling from the 70s, ask a lot of questions, gather the what and the why and how. And you know what? You know what’s important to them. Why is it important to him? You know, all of the priority of all of the needs. And you can show how your product matches those needs. Boom. Simple done right. Now, imagine they’re not giving you that clarity, but they’re almost complaining about things and what they’re really doing is they’re talking about the problems that they’ve got. Well, then you need to sort of shift into more of a solution based selling where you learn a lot about the problems and you start to walk them through the process of critical thinking and and problem solving and decision making. And you’re kind of creating a solution with them. Then imagine that you’re talking to a buyer and they’ve got very clear objectives and projects and initiatives on their plate. Someone they’ve either done the work to get to that point. If someone has given them marching orders and they’re talking about the objectives they’ve got to meet and then what they’ve got to do and then where you have to do is sort of shift into what do I need to do to help them achieve and accomplish those objectives and show that I’m the best person to help them do that. I call it objective based selling.
I think to both we may have coined that term, but so that’s that. And then let’s say that you see an opportunity for them, but maybe they haven’t fully grasped it yet or they’re starting to see it, but they don’t quite know how to capitalize on it and that’s when INSIGHT based selling works really well. What I’ve seen over these years I talked about was sort of what’s evolved from that, from watching these top producers is a recommendation of using an adaptive sales methodology. Adapt the way that you approach the the the conversation with a buyer based on where they’re coming from rather than what you’re trying to do.
So do some research and figure out what your team needs. In a methodology, you might come up with something completely new. That’s a combination of a bunch of different methodologies. The most important thing is to have a methodology that teaches your team to execute your sales process in such a way that all your customers become raving fans. In order for that to happen, you need consistency across team members in the way they execute your sales process. So more important than the methodology you choose is the way you document it. You need to create a playbook that shows your reps the best way to execute your sales process.
A playbook, in essence, is really accumulation of knowledge that you provide the reps at specific stages of the sales cycle as they need it to move forward and guide them through the sales process.
So what goes into a playbook for areas that a playbook really needs is starting with what to know. What does a sales rep actually need to know? What product are they selling? What service are they selling? What sales methodology they’re using? What personas are they actually focusing on are very important. Secondly, what did they do? What are the steps, strategies and tactics those sales reps are taking to effectively engage the client before, during and after? Every sales conversation is vitally important. The next stage would be what do they say? What is the core messaging? What is the storylines they want to tell the customer? What do the questions do they have? What are the conversation? Talk tracks, very important. And fourth, what do they show? I think this day and age, sales reps need to get more away from pitch specs and focus on areas like whiteboard sessions, video compelling visual content that can draw emotion from the actual bot potential buyer itself. So what they’re showing should be more interactive inform and things of that.
So your playbook should include your methodology and sales process in it, but it should be more than that. It should include the content that you want your rep sharing with prospects during the sales process.
So if you know your buying process actually criteria, think about your most common four personas, the journey they go through, what the criteria are. You can actually start to develop a content marketing plan that answers those questions about what those buyers need to see, hear, feel, understand and believe in each stage.
If you cringed at the phrase content marketing plan, you’re not alone. Sales and marketing are famous for not getting along. But don’t worry, it’s possible to create a content strategy that will make your team’s job easier instead of harder.
Most organizations that we work with have some level of content. Marketing is constantly putting together content. We see white papers, we see case studies. You’ve got stuff on the website. There’s great compendium stuff. It’s all sitting in Google Docs. Maybe you got some PD. There are great tools for shooting out content around the universe. Does that stuff work for sales?
No, because people need a content framework. What they have in most cases is piles of content. They’ve got these case studies. They’ve got these product use cases, they’ve got white papers, they’ve got blog posts, they’ve got infographics. They’ve got all kinds of content. But in a world where salespeople need to deliver words with their mouth, there’s a disconnect. And so one of the things that we like to talk about is the framework of the pain persona feature content matrix. It’s basically a four column matrix that says for each persona, what’s the pain that they have relevant to us? What feature do we have that solves that pain for them? And then what content do we have that talks about us solving that pain for that persona with that feature? Now, that could just be a story. We’re talking to somebody yesterday and he said, you know, we don’t have enough customer stories. We don’t have enough case studies. That’s something we need to work on. And after a little further discovery, we realize they don’t have a closed loop between customer success and sales. So whenever customers are talking about how they’re using the product to be successful, there’s no way to get that information back to the salespeople. So then they can use that in selling conversations. And so that’s the trick is it’s not, hey, let’s go build some big, massive content library of words that will take an hour to read. It’s let’s figure out how to get in that three word phrase right. When he’s speaking with a specific persona who has a pain that we solve with a specific feature to create a matrix like this. Start with your personas for each persona. Add Rose for the common pain points you help resolve for each pain point, add rows for the features of your product that help with that pain point. And for each feature, add rows for the content pieces that explain that feature. This matrix can hold a lot more than just content. You can put specific questions in there that you want your reps to ask. During sales calls. You can include phrases or sentences that will help them explain particular features. You can include email templates, call scripts or anything else that will help your reps speak to that person in that situation. Do that for each persona, that content matrix, combined with your sales methodology, will give you a robust playbook that will help a salesperson handle practically any conversation with any person. So what does a finished playbook look like, a successful sales playbook?
Sales, Selling and Customers
I am a strong believer in digital playbooks. We’ve seen playbooks that are pedophiles are digital form, but they’re not interactive. So I would say success metrics for playbooks. They should be Web based. They should be on demand, they should be interactive. They should have video I think is vitally important and they should be evergreen, meaning that you keep updating them consistently because a playbook is always changing for the rep. So that’s key and if you have a digital playbook and structured through a good system, it’s easy to update and scale.
So pull together a playbook of everything your reps need to know in order to do their job and put it together into a digital playbook. Your reps can reference in the moment and then you’ll be able to execute your sales process in a whole new way.