Every business uses some sort of process to create its offerings. Whether you choose (or are required) to get ISO or EC certification or you simply have checklists and written instructions, things have to follow some sort of plan, or you would produce different results every time and your customers wouldn’t trust you to provide consistent quality.
Often the same business that has a set of instructions to build its offering, has no clear process to help it win the business in the first place. This is very strange when you consider that without making the sales successfully, at the right price, there is no business.
This is a simple schematic of a Proactive Sales Process. Like any process, it can be broken down into a set of logical processes, grouped into a set of steps.
Having a logical process for sales will make your sales people more efficient and more effective. It will ensure, over time, you win business more often; win it at better prices and to ensure you build the engagement to win more of it, more easily, into the future.
Often, sales activity is limited to bid preparation. If your business runs CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software, this is also often relied upon absolutely. Sometimes completing these tasks even becomes an end in themselves. None of this places much emphasis on understanding where the value is created – both for you and the customer.
So we have taken our usual Pareto approach and limited it to four key, parts.
- Asking the “W Questions” – Why does this need to happen? When is the real deadline? Who is involved in the decision? What is the big picture – and How will bids be evaluated?
- Understanding the “Value Drivers” – what is important to the customer, so we can align ourselves with what really matters and so help him to achieve his goals.
- Figuring out who is in the “People Cloud” on the customer side. Who matters? Do we know them? Do we understand what is really important to them?
- Using all this understanding – What do we have to do to win?
If you do this – and have some way to understand where you are, and you will be able to address the greatest uncertainty – how the customer perceives you.
Use the Sales cycle fully to your advantage: just waiting for a tender to arrive and then being cheapest is never going to give the best business results. Broken into parts, it is easy to master – and simple to use.