- Turning the Question "What do you do?" Into a Conversation About Value
You’re at an industry event mulling over which cheese will go best with which crackers at the buffet. The person next to you introduces himself. You introduce yourself. Then he says:
“So tell me, what do you do?”
The challenge is to communicate the key elements of your value. When we work with our clients to teach them how to sell, we tend to focus on helping them learn the right things to do, such as you’ll find in our article 6 Building Blocks for Communicating Your Value Proposition.
Knowing the right thing to do will help you get on the right track. However, even those on the right track can get derailed by common mistakes. It’s often just as helpful to know what not to do as it is to know what to do.
Here, then, are the most common mistakes we see people making when trying to answer the question, “What do you do?” and ideas for how to avoid them...[click to continue...]
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- 5 Ways Strategic Account Management and Selling Are Different
What are the differences between Strategic Account Management and Selling?
Ask the question, “What needs to happen at your company to maximize your success with your strategic accounts?” and you’re likely to get answers like this:
- The leaders at the account need to know about the value we can bring them besides what we’re doing for them right now.
- We need to penetrate different divisions of the accounts.
- Our relationships need to be deeper if we want to keep competitors out.
- We need to work directly with decision makers at the enterprise level.
Nice list, but not unique to strategic account management.
Indeed, the answers tend to be the same as those to the question, “What would you like your salespeople to do more of?"
Company leaders often ask the question, look at this list, and decide, “Okay – looks like we need sales training. Let’s put something on the agenda.”
This is a mistake.
While on their face, many of the outcomes of strategic account management and sales are the same (e.g. higher revenue, higher margins, longer contracts, deeper penetration, more mindshare, stronger relationships) and some of the concepts are the same, the paths to get there can be quite different.
Here are 5 areas where these differences stand out...[click to continue...]
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- The New Rules of Selling, Part 1: Play to Win-Win
Rule #1: Play to Win-Win. (This post is the first in a series of blog posts on the new rules of selling.)
Win-win is a common negotiating philosophy. The idea is to find solutions that satisfy the interests of both parties, and maximize value on both sides. Since repeat business and referrals are so important in complex sales, employing win-win as part of your selling technique and philosophy should be a foregone conclusion.
However, in the name of "win-win" many salespeople get so tied up in the name of “providing value” during the sales process that they:[click to continue...]
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- 8 Strategic Account Management Roles Every Company Needs to Know About
Ask leaders at companies how much more they believe they could be selling to their strategic accounts and you don’t hear 5%, 10%, or 20%.
It’s usually more like, “We should be selling 2 times…3 times…even more.”
Ask what’s in their way, you’ll often get this answer, “Our strategic account managers just aren’t doing what they need to do to penetrate the account, cross-sell, and keep the competition out so we can truly grow our accounts to their potential.”
The reasons vary why this is the case. But when it comes to the strategic account management team, eight of the reasons are predictable. There are eight distinct roles that must be played for strategic account management initiatives to deliver at peak potential.
Few companies define the roles and play all eight well.
The first step to changing this is to know what these roles are. So here you go.[click to continue...]
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- Prospecting with Old “Friends”: Making Outdated Leads Work
If your firm is like most, you’ve been using CRM software for years now. Name after name, title after title, data point upon data point, you’ve likely stockpiled a huge amount of prospecting information through various lead generation activities. You’ve created countless records and guided each one through your sales pipeline.
What do you do with those records once you can no longer push them forward? Again, if your firm is like most, you probably leave them languishing in your database, perhaps with a sad “lost – chose competitor” or “dead – no budget” tag attached. But these are more than just dead data...[click to continue...]
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