To run an effective sales team you should know your own company’s sales process. That is, the steps it takes to go from finding an opportunity to closing and implementing a sale. But do you know your customer’s buying process? How do they make decisions to work with you?
According to The Challenger Sale co-author Matthew Dixon, (who I had the great fortune of meeting in January!) before a customer decides to work with you she is already almost 60% of the way through her decision process. So what value can you add? You need to consider these key issues:
- The steps in the decision process she goes through when buying a product or service such as yours;
- All the people who will be involved in the decision including influencers, users, evaluators, ratifiers and, of course, decision makers;
- The budget and timing of this decision—will the funds for this purchase come from a specific budget or can they be taken from elsewhere in the company;
- Other suppliers (your competitors) that they are considering;
- If your solution will help them reach a goal, fix a pain point or circumvent a problem;
- Political issues within the company so that you don’t get caught off guard;
- Since change involves an inherent risk, know her tolerance for this; and
- And, most importantly, how they will measure the success of implementing your solution.
So while you’re preparing your next sales call—deciding how you will open the meeting, what questions you will ask, how you will get a next step, and so on give some thought to your customer and what she is going through to decide to work with you.