Posts Tagged Sales

Step 1 of the 7 Step Sales Process – Strategic Preparation

Step 1 of the 7 Step Sales Process – Strategic Preparation

Rafael Sanguily, Director of Business Development, MSPU

Before any successful sales engagement can begin, there are many important pieces of information that can be gathered before any client interaction takes place.  The preparation phase is the first step in the seven step sales process and requires a client-centric mentality. Strategic preparation; when conducted properly, will allow the Sales Professional to gather the necessary information to conduct a valuable Warm Up (Step 2 of the Seven Step Sales Process) and instill a sense of professionalism during the first client appointment and increase the chances of building customer rapport.

There are numerous methodologies in the area of strategic preparation. Keeping prospects’ challenges and issues in mind; instead of the solutions that the Sales Professional is interested in selling, is the first paradigm shift that needs occur, and is the underlying foundation for successful strategic preparation. This shift in approach and mentality will set the stage for searching for valuable information that can be used to bond with prospects and connect proposed solutions to more specific pain points that they may find valuable.

Examples of the tactical execution of Strategic Preparation by a Sales Professional include:

  • Entering a Prospects’ name and company name into an Internet search engine and researching any recent news or social media affiliations found. This tactic will allow the Sales Professional to get a better understanding of what activities or organizations the Prospect and their organization may be involved in.
  • Researching the Prospect Company’s Website. In the “About us” or “History” section of the website there may be valuable information that could give clues about the core value system of the company. The Website may also provide information on multiple locations and the names of the Decision Maker(s).
  • Researching the Prospect’s Vertical for any recent news or new or existing Regulatory or Compliance requirements. The Sales Professional should also research any specific line of business applications or business processes used by the Prospect to determine potential pain points that can be used for discussion to build a perception of competence in understanding the Prospect’s business. This strategy will open the door for The Sales Professional to ask more valuable questions later in the Qualifying Phase (Step 3 of the Seven Step Sales Process).
  • Create a repository of the Prospect’s potential business challenges (Issues) and at least 10 Implications for each of these issues on other areas of their business. This will allow the Sales Professional to ask deeper questions during the Qualifying Step of the Sales process and escalate the sense of urgency for the Prospect to make a buying decision by increasing the number of reasons a Prospect would want to move forward with the proposed solution.

Strategic preparation is the first crucial step in developing distinction and separation between a typical Sales Person and an effective Sales Professional. This step will allow the Sales Professional to develop a Trusted Advisor relationship with their Prospects and Clients. While Strategic Preparation alone will not Close a Prospect, it will provide the foundation for; and increase the chances of, conducting a successful sales engagement.

Join us for Part 3 of this series next month: Step 2 of the 7 Step Sales Process: The Warm-Up.

Posted in: Sales

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Becoming a Best In Class Solution Provider Marketer

What does it take to be a Best in Class Solution Provider Marketer? To answer that question we need to first understand the definition of a Best in Class Solution Provider: your pre-tax net income is in the top 25% of all other solution providers in your same predominant business model. There are many factors that affect your ability to become a Best in Class Solution Provider, and your marketing sophistication and effectiveness is the most important. Without an effective marketing strategy to maximize your lead generation outcomes, your overall growth and success will be limited. Over the course of this series we will cover the 16 Steps to Best in Class Solution Provider Marketing.

Step 1: Establish Your Target Market

Once you’ve determined your deliverables and pricing strategy, establishing the right target market is one of the most critical decisions you will make. The good news is, if you examine your existing client base, chances are you are heavier in one or two verticals than any other vertical you currently support.

Many Solution Providers subscribe to an indirect, passive referral-based marketing philosophy that leads to supporting any customer that is referred by others; or happens to come knocking at their door, regardless of their vertical. This approach is not always efficient and profitable, and it will eventually catch up with you. In addition, scaling your business becomes much more difficult, as you cannot forecast sales pipelines or predict growth with any accuracy

When you are spread across many different verticals, supporting each of these customers’ myriad line of business applications, network infrastructures, specialty hardware and vendors becomes costly and challenging. Because of the lack of standardization in your customer environments; and its resultant negative impact on efficiencies, will be forced to continue hiring additional engineers to support your customers. This will eat into your profitability and hinder you from reaching Best in Class profits.

A better approach would be to strengthen your lead generation outcomes by establishing a Direct Marketing approach to target ideal prospects in your desired verticals to standardize on the types of customers you support. This will increase your efficiencies and profitability, as your engineers will begin to specialize on these customers’ specific hardware and software solutions and understand their workflows and procedures, allowing them to deliver services much more rapidly and effectively.

The goal is to choose one or two verticals that you would like to specialize in, and become a subject matter expert in them. This will lead to faster sales cycles, the ability to command higher fees for your services, and supporting common environments that your engineers are experienced in supporting. This will result in the need for less staff to support more clients more profitably.

Join us for Part 2 of this series next month: Establishing a Marketing Budget for Maximum ROI

Posted in: Sales & Marketing

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